Grant will provide you with a republic (Alexis

Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic (Alexis de Tocqueville). In today’s world media plays very important role in our societies as Edmund Burkey in 1787 stated that media is the fourth-pillar of the state. The same way Freedom of press is a must for a democratic country like Pakistan, where media can empower public by highlighting their issues and conveying their messages or concerns to government. But at the same time it’s a challenge to ensure freedom of press amid ensuring law and order, peace security that owns diversity in terms of views, faith and belief (Sadaf, 2016) Freedom of the press is a fundamental right of man recognized and protected by the law of all modern state. This right is closely associated with the freedom fo speech and is a component of freedom of speech.Globally freedom of press is not recognized as unconditional right as every government or state has developed some sort of laws and restrictions to control press. According to an article published by Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, limitations on freedom of press are imposed only when it conflicts with the rights and values of the society and may be subject to legal sanction.  Pakistan is the 6th largest population in the world but seems deprived of press freedom as in 2017 “Reporters without Borders” has rated Pakistan among the most dangerous countries for journalists. Intelligence agents and members of banned militant organizations are behind “serious threats” to reporters (Reporter without borders, 2017). Like other democratic countries, Pakistan has also put certain limitations for Press in terms of national security and religion. Press freedom has never been consistent in Pakistan since 1947. Different elected rulers and dictators used legal and constitutional means to control the press from open public debate and criticism. In its sixty years of history, Pakistan has been ruled by military more than the civilian. Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan once says “I expect press for complete fearless.” But press in Pakistan has been unsuccessful to appreciate the goal of Quaid-e-Azam. Press in Pakistan or media organizations usually faces threats, violence, and economic pressure since 1947. This paper intends to study limitations of press freedom in Pakistan and also challenges, problems, and threats to Pakistani journalists while they are fulfilling their professional duties and responsibilities. My intro will be followed by the Pakistani media landscape, limitations of Press Freedom, implementations of press freedom laws in different regimes, constructing the debate on freedom of speech in Pakistani media, existing laws for press freedom in Pakistan’s constitution, John Stuart Mill’s Harm principle, factors affecting freedom of press, analysis of freedom of press laws in different regimes since 2000.Definitions of Press Freedom:The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers. Explanations:In light of this definition, it would be wrong to say that Pakistan is enjoying press freedom because it is on record that many times when private channels or newspapers go against military or politicians, they are immediately stopped from broadcasting or publishing news. A prominent Pakistani journalist and analyst, Talat Hussain said that “Independent Journalism is possible if a political corruption story is dug out. Articles and talk shows discussing political squabbles do not land journalists in troubled waters. However, reporting on the Taliban and other militant groups, the law enforcement authorities, FATA, Balochistan, foreign policy and religion, can land you in hot waters”. Free movement in areas where conflict or military operations may be ongoing is out of the question. Even though they are declared ‘secured areas’, prior permission is required for a journalist to visit South or North Waziristan, even for a soft story. Meanwhile “embedded” journalism is promoted at the cost of independent journalism. Today, FATA and Baluchistan are out of the news if one looks for independently-sourced information. After discussing these different aspects of Pakistan’s media landscape we can focus more on the barrios or obstacles in the way of press freedom.Media Sociology of Pakistan:Media in Pakistan provides information and entertainment through newspapers, magazines, television radio and Cinemas. Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape; among the most dynamic in South Asia. According to Pakistan Press Foundation, there are approximately four million circulations of newspapers in Pakistan. Among Urdu Press, Jang daily Urdu is considered the largest newspaper followed by Nawai-e-Waqt and Express daily Urdu, whereas among English Press, Dawn, The News International, Express Tribune and The Frontier Post are the most popular and are most circulated English dailies in Pakistan. Poor literacy rate in rural areas, high prices of newspapers, number of private owned TV news channels are the detrimental factors of low circulation. The circulation of newspaper per capita in Pakistan is among the lowest in the world (Pakistan Press foundation, 2006). According to recent census conducted by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan’s population is 220 million. The Pakistani media landscape reflects a multi linguistic, multi ethnic and class divided society. There is a clear divide between English and Urdu Press. The Urdu media, particularly the newspapers, are widely read by the masses mostly in rural areas and the lower and middle class of the society. Whereas the English Press is urban and elite centric and is more liberal and professional opinion makers, politicians, the business community and the upper class of society. The elite class of the society and major cities of Pakistan, i-e, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi get more media coverage as compare to other cities like Peshawar or Quetta and rural areas of Pakistan. As we say in Journalism that “Big people make big news”. The upper-middle class is overrepresented than the middle and lower-middle class on television. Also in dramas and entertainment program some ethnic groups are portrayed stereotypes, such as, “Pathan” as “servant”. Most often women are shown in inferior capacity such as, “male doctor and female nurse”. Pakistani newspapers and Tv channels are completely dependent on advertisements from government sectors and other big private manufacturers and organizations. Advertisements are the only income of press in Pakistan. Due to this reason, these organizations and government sometimes control the media content. They can also use media as a propaganda tool for their personal interests rather than national interests. This is one of big reason, that media in Pakistan perform very little function of watch dog journalism. The major topics of discussion in Pakistani media is news about Government conflicts and disagreements, government decisions, scandals, protests violence, disasters, political rivalry, Pakistan media covers mostly stories related to violence such as terrorism, murder, fraud, drug, robbery etc. and very less coverage is given to heroic roles of the societies. There is always a big competition between private Tv channels for breaking news, they are running after breaking news to increase their rating. Journalism is a sacred profession but it becomes more like a business in Pakistan. Media education is gaining grounds in Pakistan. After 9/11 many universities offered degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication. Before that most of the journalists in print and electronic media were not journalism degree holders. Now the situation is other way round. The education of journalist has brought considerable change in the content presentation and sociology of the media in the country (Shakeela, 2005)Emergence of electronic media after 9/11 and media’s role:Since 2002, the Pakistani media has become powerful and independent and the numbers of private channels have grown from just three state-run channels in 2000 to 89 in 2012 (According to PEMRA). Most of the private media in Pakistan flourished under a military dictator Musharraf regime. After 9/11 dozens of private TV channels and newspapers emerged in Pakistan. The main purpose of allowing and issuing licenses to dozens of channels was to ensure that media is free in Pakistan and they can debate any relevant issue they are faced with and this way we can end communication gap between government and public but still these channels and newspapers remained under high influence of politicians and military.In recent years a dramatic increase has been recorded in the number of both English and Urdu newspapers, however, journalists lack basic knowledge of technical, professional skills, ethical journalism to cover diverse range of complex issues affecting their communities such as terrorism, law and order, security, education and health in rural areas of Pakistan. (The Pakistan Press Foundation, 2016)Constitutional Provisions on Freedom of Expression: In Pakistan, historically, restrictions of the press has occurred in two ways, it may be either in the form of censorship or licensing by the government in advance of publications or broadcasting of news. Journalists are players of the media. Pakistan is a country where everyday journalists are being tortured, beaten, kidnapped and killed. As “Reporters without Borders” reported that, in 2003, 42 journalists lost their lives pursuing their profession and that, in the same year, at least 130 journalists were in prison as a result of their occupational activities, while in 2005, 63 journalists and 5 media assistants were killed worldwide. In Pakistan, journalists are also facing life threatening situation while covering news in war-conflict zones like Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) where military has been done a lot of operations against terrorists. Journalists are restricted to cover direct news in these areas and alternatively they are dependent only on government press conferences and press releases. On one side this restriction is good to save the lives of journalists but on the other it shows that press is not free as if there any human violation in the conflict zone, it could not be covered directly to public which is negative aspect of it. If there are more hurdles in access to information then journalists will not perform their duties to convey a right message on right time to public.