The annual World Press Freedom Index was released on Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a non-profit organisation that promotes and defends the right to information.

In 2023, Pakistan is ranked 150 out of 180 countries, up seven places from its previous level of 157, according to the report.

The rules in Pakistan, which are ostensibly designed to protect journalism, are really used to prohibit any criticism of the country’s leaders, according to the RSF’s country profile for Pakistan.

The watchdog, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), is criticised for focusing more on policing the information that media outlets disseminate than on policing the media industry as a whole.

Because state sector advertisements and legal notices are the primary source of funding for media outlets in Pakistan, including privately owned ones, information ministries at the provincial and national levels frequently threaten to withhold funding in order to sway editorial judgement.

The survey also mentions Pakistan as one of the most hazardous nations in the world for journalists. Each year, three to four journalist murders are reported; these crimes are frequently connected to corruption or illegal trade, but they are not prosecuted.

The Pakistan Press Freedom Report, which was published on Monday, supports the results of the World Press Freedom Index. According to the research, there have been at least 140 incidences of threats and attacks against journalists, media workers, and media organisations in Pakistan over the previous year, representing an increase of more than 60% on a yearly basis.

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