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The decline of media freedom in Pakistan - A journalist tells his story

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The media situation in Pakistan deteriorated in the context of the controversial election in 2018. The poll was widely seen as having been manipulated by the army to help bring a weak civilian government to power, headed by the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

When parts of the media cried foul, the security and intelligence machinery sought to silence them. Journalists critical of the army's interference in politics were told to fall in line or risk losing their jobs. Many prominent TV personalities did fall in line, some enthusiastically, others begrudgingly. Those who couldn't, were fired or called it a day.

The purge has seen many senior journalists being removed from the country's mainstream media, including Najam Sethi, Nusrat Javed, Murtaza Solangi among others.

Earlier this year, it was my turn to experience it first hand. It started as scurrilous trolling on Twitter and became intense and the threats more specific. I could tell it was orchestrated as most of the accounts attacking my work had a picture of the Pakistani flag, a numeric Twitter handle with hardly any followers.

Investigations by Pakistan's digital journalist Ramsha Jahangir have since established that the so-called "cyber warriors" targeting journalists are invariably linked to the prime minister's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the Pakistani army's public relations department, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). These self-described "patriots" take great pride in orchestrating false social media campaigns to abuse and defame critics of the government.

Prime Minister Khan and his military mentors aren't particularly fond of western democratic values

Authoritarian regimes around the world spend way more time and resources on suppressing dissent than on the welfare and prosperity of their people. Pakistan is no different. The Prime Minister Imran Khan and his military mentors aren't particularly fond of........

© Deutsche Welle