Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan’s drop by 12 points on Press Freedom Index during last year has not only earned his predecessor Imran Khan a “shameful title of press freedom predator" but also placed the country’s democracy in bad light.
“Pakistan fell 12 points on Press Freedom Index during last year of Imran Khan's govt & 18 points during his tenure. It not only earned him shameful title of ‘press freedom predator’ but also placed our democracy in bad light,” PM Shehbaz wrote on his official Twitter handle on Wednesday.
He added that his government was fully committed to freedom of press and speech.
Pakistan fell 12 points on Press Freedom Index during last year of Imran Khan's govt & 18 points during his tenure. It not only earned him shameful title of "press freedom predator" but also placed our democracy in bad light. We are fully committed to freedom of press & speech!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 4, 2022
In its latest index of 180 countries, the Reporters Without Borders, an international non-governmental organisation working to safeguard the right to information, has placed Pakistan at 157, comparing 145 in 2021 and 139 in 2018, when Imran Khan had assumed the office.
Also read: Media curbs 'undermine Pakistan's ability to progress', says Blinken
At least 86 cases of attacks and violations against media and its practitioners, including journalists, took place in Pakistan over the course of one year – between May 2021 and April 2022, a report revealed earlier this month.
While the overall number of documented violations in the preceding year has gone down several notches, there is a continuing trend of targeting journalists working for digital media, according to a research and analysis report by the Freedom Network, an award-winning Pakistan-based media rights watchdog that tracks violations against journalists and attacks on freedom of expression on an ongoing basis.
The report, released in Pakistan in 2022 to mark the World Press Freedom Day marked globally on May 3 every year, reveals that the state actors continue to be the largest threat source for journalists in Pakistan in a period marked by a dramatic escalation of coercion by the erstwhile Imran Khan government resulting in murders, legal cases, assaults, abductions, detentions and threats.
(With input from APP)