So much for freedom of speech in Pakistan

Rabia Mehmood July 10, 2010
Who said that it is only the extremist elements that cannot stand the free press in this country?

There are in fact numerous groups that would refute this misconception.

First there are the lawyers, who could not stand being recorded beating up unarmed men in a government office in Faisalabad or beating up a policeman. How dare the cameraman show them doing that? And of course, in response they thought it best to simply break a camera or two.

Then there are the doctors, who could not stand having to deal with investigations and coverage of news stories highlighting their malpractice. So, they decided to beat up reporters. Note: one of the stories of malpractice being covered involved the death of a three-year-old at a very expensive medical facility in Lahore.

Let’s not forget that a just few months back even the presidency had issues with the media and had started taking offence at what the television channels were talking about.

And now, we have our so called big-hearted Punjab Assembly here. I am unable to comprehend as to what exactly they want from the media? Do they want the media to not call a fake degree ‘fake’ or jaali but rather call it asli? Or, do they want a complete and utter denial of all the things that they have been up to.

And to top it all off, they have resorted to name calling, tears as well as throw-downs. So much for their false notions of izzat.

I mean it must be all Musharraf's fault right? Had he not concocted the evil plan to manipulate poor Pakistani MPAs, MNAs and Senators, they would not have been ‘forced’ to lie and violate the law.

Well, at least Shahbaz Sharif would be relieved now since in the wake of the Data Darbar attacks the focus has finally shifted away from his favorite law minister.

I believe there are enough reasons to assert that ‘Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists,’ and hence it deserves to be added to yet another list compiled by an independent monitoring agency, no?
Rabia Mehmood A reporter at the Lahore Bureau of Express 24/7 and a IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow at the Center for International Studies, MIT.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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