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World Press Freedom Index: Pakistan ranks 157 out of 180 countries

By News Desk
May 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has dropped further on the list of countries in terms of protection of journalists, according to Reporters Without Border (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

Pakistan has fallen by 12 places to 157 out of 180 countries, according to the report released on the World Press Freedom Day. In 2021, Pakistan was ranked 145 on the list of the Paris-based media watchdog.

The 2022 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which assesses the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories, highlights the disastrous effects of news and information chaos – the effects of a globalised and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.

The indicators used by RSF were based on a quantitative survey of press freedom violations and abuses against journalists and media, along with questionnaire responses from hundreds of press freedom experts.

Ever since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has oscillated between civil society’s quest for greater press freedom and the ruling elite’s constant reassertion of extensive control over the media, the RSF said.

It said Pakistan is one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists, with three to four murders each year that are often linked to cases of and which go completely unpunished. Any journalist who crosses ‘the red lines’ is liable to be the target of in-depth surveillance that could lead to abduction and detention for varying lengths of time in the state’s prisons or less official jails. Furthermore, state’s paraphernalia is prepared to silence any critic once and for all.

There are now around 100 TV channels and more than 200 radio stations, which play a fundamental role in providing news and information to a population with a relatively low literacy rate (around 60%). Many daily newspapers and periodicals are published in Urdu, English and the various regional languages. The English-language press, which is mainly reserved for the urban elite, has a strong tradition of independence and serves as a showcase for the two leading media groups, Jang and Dawn, the world media watchdog said. Under the guise of protecting journalism, Pakistani law is used to censor any criticism of the government and other state institutions. Despite changes in political power, a recurring theme is apparent: political parties in opposition support press freedom but are first to re

According to 2022 edition of World Press Freedom Index, India's press freedom ranking fell from 142 in 2021 to 150 this year. The ranking of all of India's neighbours except Nepal has also slid, with the index placing Sri Lanka at 146, Bangladesh at 162, and Myanmar at 176.

"The violence against journalists, the politically partisan media and the concentration of media ownership all demonstrate that press freedom is in crisis in the world's largest democracy, ruled since 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.