ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday vehemently rejected a report by an international media watchdog that includes Prime Minister Imran Khan on a list of the world’s 37 worst rulers when it comes to press freedom.
The Khan government’s irate reaction came in response to a report on Monday titled: “Predators of Press Freedom: Old Tyrants, Two Women and a European,” published by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.
According to the group, “cases of blatant censorship are innumerable since Khan became prime minister” after the 2018 parliamentary elections. He said that during the Khan government, newspaper distribution was disrupted, the media was threatened with the withdrawal of advertising and television channel signals. they were stuck.
“Journalists crossing the red lines have been threatened, kidnapped and tortured,” the media watchdog said.
Pakistan’s Information Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, rejected the allegations, saying the Khan government believed in “freedom of expression and independence of the media.”
In a statement, the ministry said it was surprising that Reporters Without Borders “concluded” that the media in Pakistan are under draconian censorship measures by the Khan government. He said the government has been “taking all possible measures to create a pleasant environment for journalists to fulfill their professional obligations.”
“It appears that the report that (Reporters Without Borders) has issued is an attempt to smear the elected representative of the people of Pakistan, without any corroborating evidence,” the ministry said.
The ministry said it hoped the watchdog in the “future will avoid such irresponsible journalism.”
Critics say Pakistan has long been a deadly place for journalists. In 2020, it ranked ninth in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Annual Global Impunity Index, which assesses countries where journalists are regularly killed and their killers go free. Although Pakistan says it supports freedom of expression, rights activists often accuse the Pakistani military and its agencies of harassing and attacking journalists.