Education Technology

Pakistan: Without press freedom, the truth can often disappear

To commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Amnesty International will be launching a campaign with Dawn.com, showcasing the consequences on the news if press freedom is curtailed in the country.

The campaign will be launched at 0900 (Pakistan Standard Time) on 3 May, 2019.

The Dawn News website will temporarily blur out the homepage when logged onto for the duration of 15 hours to indicate that without press freedom, the truth can often disappear.

Over the past year, there has been a noticeable increase in attacks on the right to freedom of expression in Pakistan. We have seen this in the form of regular columnists being refused publication, increased self-censorship and the heightened scrutiny of the editorial policies of many media outlets, said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

A free press reporting on the human rights and related issues that shape our lives is a key building block of any society. Without it, we can face a reality that is only built on half-truths, weaken respect for human rights and jeopardize institutions integral to accountability, Rimmel Mohydin said.

We have also seen an alarming crackdown on social media since at least 2016, when the draconian Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) came into force. Just this month, BBC journalist Shahzeb Jillani was charged with 'cyberterrorism' for reporting on enforced disappearances in Pakistan and is currently released on bail.

As part of the campaign, Amnesty International has also released a video showcasing the need for a press that is free, fair and reports with integrity.

Source: Amnesty International