The state of Article 19 in Pakistan is bleak, says Media House Islamabad | Article 19 | DW | 11.12.2018
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The state of Article 19 in Pakistan is bleak, says Media House Islamabad

#Article19ForAll: With a low ranking on Reporters Without Borders' media freedom index, Pakistan remains a dangerous place for journalists. But what does freedom of expression look like in the country?

A statement from Pakistan's Media House Islamabad, a partner of DW Akademie, on Article 19:

"By virtue of its orientation as a media research and training organization and its explicit mandate, Media House Islamabad Pakistan is a staunch advocate of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Coincidentally, the corresponding law in the constitution of Pakistan is also Article 19 and states that every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.

In Pakistan there is only marginal improvement in media freedom over the last few years and the country ranks 147 out of 180 states in the Reporters Without Borders Index. There are the incidences of self-regulation, fake news and disinformation, online speech and social media regulation. Laws such as the cybercrime bill are not in sync with freedom of speech. The last periodic review does not inspire any confidence.  

Figures in the UNESCO director general's latest report on the safety of journalists shows that 51 journalists were killed in the past 10 years. The report classifies 16 cases as ongoing or unresolved. Yet in another report, the media rights watchdog Freedom Network (FN), recorded more than 157 attacks on journalists between May 2017 and April 2018, 55 of them occurring in Islamabad alone. Even more troubling, perhaps, is the picture emerging from UNESCO's records on the lack of effective judicial follow-ups in countries where journalists have been killed.

The Media House Training and Research Centre's  contribution is part of Deutsche Welle's #Article19ForAll project. The goal is to collect voices and opinions to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and more specifically Article 19 which defined free expression and access to information as basic human rights.


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