Unfortunately, journalists in Pakistan have faced significant challenges and threats to their safety and freedom of expression in recent years. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with a high rate of targeted violence, abductions, and censorship.

As per the Reporters Without Border (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, Pakistan has dropped further on the list of countries in terms of protection of journalists, Pakistan is placed at 150 out of 180 countries, according to the report released on the World Press Freedom Day.

Journalists in Pakistan have been targeted by both state and non-state actors, including government authorities, extremist groups, and criminal gangs. They have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, physical attacks, and even killings for their reporting on sensitive topics such as corruption, human rights abuses, and terrorism.

In addition to these direct threats, journalists in Pakistan also face other obstacles to their work, such as censorship, legal harassment, and economic pressure from media owners and advertisers. Many media outlets in Pakistan are owned by powerful business interests or political figures, which can lead to self-censorship and bias in reporting.

One of the most prominent examples of non-state actorsis the issue of “media mafias,” which refers to powerful individuals and groups that exert control over media outlets through ownership, advertising revenue, and other means. These mafias often use their influence to censor or manipulate news coverage, and journalists who refuse to comply with their demands can face serious repercussions, including physical violence and even death.

According to the documents submitted by the ministry of information in Senate of Pakistan,  42 journalists killed in Pakistan in the last four years. As per the record, 15 journalists were killed in Punjab, 11 in Sindh, 13 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), and three in Balochistan.

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Abid Saeed is a senior broadcast journalist with an extensive experience of print and electronic media with key focus on law & Justice, SDGs and youth development.