Calling pesky journalists ‘lifafa’, unleashing trolls to bully them, Pakistan’s Imran Khan has taken a leaf out of Hindustan’s Narendra Modi

Screenshot 2019-02-08 16.11.28

The Pakistani journalist Mehmal Sarfraz in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“Censorship is nothing new for the media in Pakistan. While our seniors talk about censorship during General Zia ul-Haq’s times, we remember the censorship when General Pervez Musharraf imposed Emergency just a little over a decade ago.

“We are all too familiar with self-censorship as well when it comes to certain ‘holy cows’ and sensitive issues like religious debates. There are some defined and some undefined ‘red lines’.

“Columns are dropped because they somehow cross certain ‘red lines’; columnists are asked to stop writing because they have stepped on the toes of the powers that be; television programmes or interviews are not allowed to go on air if they are seen as being too critical of powerful State institutions.

“The military establishment has tried to control the media and State narratives for decades now but at least our democratic governments did not become party to it. (It must be noted here that the PML-N government in the 1990s had itself censored the media but it learned from its mistakes after the military coup in 1999. In recent years, democratic governments have supported freedom of the media).

“The PTI government has in its own way supported the military in cracking down on the Pakistani media. The PTI’s media team (read trolls) has tried to discredit every media person critical of its party and its leader, Imran Khan. Now the party leadership itself has resorted to such attacks in the mainstream media.

“Any journalist critical of them is labelled ‘lifafa’ (someone who takes money) and/or pro-PML-N. This new media strategy of bullying journalists is not something that the Indian media are unfamiliar with, given how the Narendra Modi government has castigated media organizations opposed to it and/or how Donald Trump deals with liberal media organizations. The PTI has taken a leaf out of the Modi/Trump book.”

Read the full article: Pakistan media being controlled and financially crippled

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