Journalists work during a demonstration to mark World Press Freedom Day in Islamabad

Pakistan military cited for pressuring media as global press freedom declines


Freedom of the press is an essential component of a healthy democratic society, but has come under attack in recent years. The year 2016 was a particularly low point, according to an NGO which monitors media freedom globally.

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“Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 amid unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders,” according to the 2017 report by Freedom House, an independent NGO.

Freedom House adds that only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a free press.

On September 12, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-profit NGO, warned that the Pakistani military is pressuring media organizations and undermining press freedom by using fear and intimidation tactics, despite diminishing violence against reporters.

“The military has quietly, but effectively, set restrictions on reporting: from barring access to regions … to encouraging self-censorship through direct and indirect methods of intimidation, including … allegedly instigating violence against reporters,” the CPJ said in a report.

Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said no press complaints regarding undue pressure had been lodged but would be investigated if they were.

Why is press freedom so important to democracies?

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How does Pakistan rank on press freedom?

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Which are the safest countries for journalists?

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Which are the most dangerous countries for journalists?

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What countries have experienced a recent decline in press freedom?

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High-profile cases of journalists being attacked?

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