Journalists held nationwide protests to denounce rampant censorship that they say is being imposed upon them from the country’s power quarters, massive layoffs due to budget cuts, and months-long delays in payments of their wages. Tuesday’s rallies, dubbed ‘Day of Protests’, were spearheaded by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
PFUJ said journalists are facing the roughest phase in the country’s history and have decided to “fight the unprecedented censorship”. Afzal Butt, president of PFUJ, said the rallies are only the “beginning of a protest movement”.
Journalists and press freedom advocates say Pakistan’s media outlets are being pressured by powerful quarters in order to quash critical coverage and that the country’s newly-elected government is slashing its advertising budget, squeezing a key source of revenue for private newspapers and TV stations. Senior journalist Hamid Mir also tweeted about the protest from Islamabad, where he attended a demonstration outside the National Press Club.