By Basit Ali Khan
In its annual report on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has issued 2018 World Press Freedom Index according to which media in Norway enjoys maximum freedom out of 180 countries the RSF has ranked.
Pakistan has been ranked at 139th position with India (198th) ahead with just one point. The country at the bottom is North Korea.
RSF determines the degree of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries by pooling the responses of experts to a questionnaire which focuses on such criteria categories as the country’s performance as regards pluralism (measuring the degree to which opinions are represented in the media), media independence and respect for the safety and freedom of journalists.
Separately, RSF database shows that as many as 29 journalists and media workers were killed in different countries of the world since January this year.
These include 23 journalists, 4 citizen journalists and 2 media assistants.
Separately, a Pakistan-based media rights watchdog “Freedom Network” has recorded over 150 cases of attacks and violations against media and its practitioners, including journalists, in Pakistan in the last one year.
According to the report on an average about 15 cases of violations were recorded a month—one every second day.
“Surrendering to Silence”—a study, to test the claims of self-censorship in the Pakistani news media through a survey, conducted by Media Matters for Democracy, almost 88% of the journalist respondents claimed they had committed self-censorship in their professional news reporting while around 79% said they had also self-censored their personal expression online.
The report calls upon the government and political parties to help end impunity in crimes against journalists and embrace press freedom in their political culture.
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