Islamabad: While observing World Press Freedom Day, media bodies voiced concerns over the state of free media in Pakistan, with a focus particularly on mainstream media and social media restrictions during election days, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) has committed to continue the constitutional and legal struggle for freedom of expression in Pakistan and face unfavourable circumstances head-on.

In a statement, AEMEND said that journalists and media outlets in Pakistan face severe challenges, as state and non-state actors have been placing restrictions on television programmes, shutting down broadcasts, pressing for the termination of journalists, creating unnecessary pressures, and making illegal demands.

AEMEND said, "Such tactics are increasing by the day," adding, "Character assassination of journalists, especially women journalists, is part of this campaign, and political party workers are also part of such malicious campaigns," according to Dawn report.

It said these tactics are aimed to suppress journalists and restrict freedom of expression. AEMEND further said that illegal restrictions on social media, sending notices to journalists and other institutions, shutting down mobile phone and internet services on important occasions, restricting the coverage of targeted political and non-political activities and the issuance of illegal notices by PEMRA are actions taken to deprive people of their right to information, which it stressed is against the spirit of democratic societies.

In its South Asia Press Freedom Report, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that four journalists were murdered and women journalists in Pakistan faced harassment online and offline.

The IFJ further said, "Pakistan's women journalists faced similar harassment both online and offline; they are in a minority, and their voices are unheard," Dawn reported.

Meanwhile, the Freedom Network has released its annual Pakistan Freedom of Expression and Media Report 2024 titled as "Erosion of free speech: The silencing of citizens, political parties, and media."

In the report, it highlighted Pakistan's socio-political-legal and media industry-related factors and developments affecting the freedom of expression by the people and media, according to Dawn report.

On May 3, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called on the government to ensure fair treatment to journalists and protect them, stated a press release from the organisation.

In a statement, HRCP demanded that the government should ensure fair and timely remuneration for journalists and media workers, develop mechanisms to protect against attacks, hold accountable those responsible for their illegal detention, and protect the right to freedom of expression.

the HRCP raised concerns over recent threats given to Hamid Mir for advocating free speech. The same statement claimed that the state and law enforcement agencies have taken no steps to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The HRCP demanded that "such oppressive and heinous tactics must stop. Freedom of the press, which is considered the fourth pillar of the state, is indispensable for the stability of a healthy democracy.

It said that the state must demonstrate its commitment to protecting the freedom of the press, and ensure the rights to life, job security, freedom of expression, and fair wages for all journalists and media workers, especially dissidents.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed