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Free media? Pakistan ranks 145 out of 180 on press freedom index

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Free media? Pakistan ranks 145 out of 180 on press freedom index

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Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres or RSF) on Tuesday released the 2020 World Press Freedom index, indicating that Pakistan has slid down another three places to reach 145th position out of 180 countries.

The top slot remained with Norway for a fourth consecutive year, followed by other Scandinavian countries, while the lowest ranking was given to North Korea. China maintained its 177th position this year. Some other countries in the region slipping from their positions included India, whose ranking dropped to 142 from last year’s 140, Iran that fell to 173, Afghanistan that went down to 122nd position.

Why is Pakistan on 145?

According to the RSF, media outlets in Pakistan have been threatened with the withdrawal of advertising. The signals of TV channels that gave airtime to opposition representatives have been jammed. Journalists who dared to broach subjects deemed off limits by the military have been subjected to harassment campaigns. After reining in the traditional media, the establishment has set about purging the internet and social media of content not to its liking.

To that end, the government is trying to step up online “regulation”, by which it clearly means censorship. Journalists meanwhile continue to be at risk in the field, especially Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where reporters are caught in the crossfire between the security forces and militants.

Also read: Domestic abuse is a very real threat to women staying indoors in Afghanistan

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