A timely contribution to documenting the media crisis in Pakistan

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The book ‘Pakistan Mein Media Ka Bohraan’ written by veteran and academic journalist Dr Tauseef Ahmed and Assistant Professor Dr Irfan Aziz is a unique and timely contribution to the academic arena of journalism, discussing the main reasons behind the present crisis of the media industry in Pakistan with an interdisciplinary approach.

Published in November of this year, the book traces the history of the current censorship regime and various tactics employed by the state and other actors to restrict media freedom.

The 410-page book has been divided into four main parts, the last of which includes the opinions of renowned journalists on the media situation in the country. Some of those whose opinion pieces have been included are Muhammad Ziauddin, Mazhar Abbas, Asha’ar Rehman, Jabbar Khattak, Hussain Naqi and Maqsood Yousufi.

Before recounting in the second part of the book how the media crisis of recent years has unfolded with attacks on journalists, the shutdown of newspapers and television channels, and large-scale dismissals, the authors have in the first part of the book attempted to clarify the context in which the media industry has worked in the country, including the dynamics of the media-political relationship and the business model of the industry, which, nevertheless, must gain traction. money to maintain itself.

The second part of the book is a sad story of how the media in Pakistan has been attacked on several fronts. He recalls the attack on journalist Hamid Mir and what happened to the judicial commission that was formed to investigate the attack, the Dawn leaks, the closure of Geo News, the campaign against media groups Jang and Dawn, the detention of the editor of Jang Publications. Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, kidnappings of journalists Matiullah Jan, Arsalan Zafar and Asad Ali Toor and shooting at Absar Alam.

In this part, the authors also discussed the plight of ordinary journalists and the reasons why many of them lose their jobs and face pay cuts. The book mentions how many journalists are not paid on time and forced to work without demanding timely pay.

After separately mentioning how various media groups have been affected by the current crisis, the book mentions prominent journalists who have been fired or forced to leave the airwaves because certain circles were not satisfied with them.

The third chapter of the book deals with the existing laws on press freedom in the country. It extensively covers topics such as the start of restrictions on journalism in Pakistan until the current crisis.

The authors have also included court orders and media commentaries over the past several years. This part also describes various media authorities and laws such as Pakistan Print Media Regularity Authority, Pakistan Media Regularity Authority, Pakistan Media Development Authority Ordinance 2021, Law of 2016 Electronic Crime Prevention and Sindh Press, Newspapers, News Agency and Box Registration Act 2017. .

One of the interesting topics in Part Three is the Faizabad sit-in and the Supreme Court’s verdict on it, which also touched on the Pakistani media industry. At the end, the authors have provided a full bibliography and references.


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