The Two ‘Red Lines’ Restricting Pakistan’s Brave and Pugnacious Press

The Two ‘Red Lines’ Restricting Pakistan’s Brave and Pugnacious Press
Pakistani journalists gather for a rally to mark World Press Freedom Day, Karachi, Pakistan, May 3, 2018 (AP photo by Fareed Khan).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world.

Last week, the Pakistani daily Dawn reported that its distributors and vendors were experiencing harassment and intimidation in several cities to prevent them from delivering the paper to subscribers. That followed an incident in April, in which the country’s largest television channel, Geo, was blocked by its cable operators across 80 percent of the country. Many in Pakistan saw the hand of the military behind the incidents. In an email interview, Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, discusses the historical role of the Pakistani press, the challenges it faces in terms of press freedom and safety, and its main allies and supporters.

World Politics Review: How much freedom has the press in Pakistan enjoyed historically, and what role does it play in the country’s political culture?

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