Press freedom under pressure in Pakistan, new report says


ISLAMABAD -- Press freedom in Pakistan is under pressure, where journalists face intimidation by the Pakistani army accompanied by violence that often pushes them to self-censorship, according to a report released by the Committee to Protect Journalists Wednesday (September 12).

The army has "quietly, but effectively, set restrictions on reporting". They range from barring access to encouraging self-censorship "through direct and indirect methods of intimidation," the report says.

The report gives voice to several journalists who say they have been subjected to intimidation.

One [reporter] was beaten in a brazen attack in Islamabad, another by what he claims were members of the [Pakistani] security forces in civilian clothing in Karachi.

"The mindset (of the military) now is to control the total narrative and reduce the diversity of opinion, so anything that is going against their narrative, they see as a threat," said a director at a news broadcaster that says it has faced disruption by authorities.

"We used to feel, 'Write whatever you want'. Of course, get the facts right. Now, people are scared," he added.

Pakistan's army, which has long denied such accusations, has not responded to CPJ's report yet.

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