Freedom of Speech and Media Censorship in Pakistan

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Media is the most important element for the development of the freedom of expression. According to Article 19 the constitution of Pakistan states, 'Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression. This research method is a qualitative research analysis of the relation between Pakistan’s political, military and media. .In this research thesis a historical study conducted about politics, establishment and the media of Pakistan. Modern Democracy establish through fair and free media, without fair and free media modern democracy can’t exist. That’s why media plays the role of fourth pillar of state. Media plays a healthy role for the improvement of government policies thorough criticism. Media represent public opinion. Media represents the strength of the democracy in a state In this thesis a brief and important history discuss about Pakistani Democracy ,Martial law ,Politics and media. Medi va independence is guaranteed if media organizations free from political interference, media owners and the establishment. In this thesis some important history events discuss. Pakistan, unluckily since its formation in 1947, has been continuously victimized by political instability. Even after the death of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, no one political leader could prove him the savior of Pakistan and no one could kick out Pakistan from political and economical problems. From 1947 to 1958, there was continuous political anarchy and unstable governments.

Muslim League considering its birth right to rule the country but forgot the politics of principles taught by the father of the nation during freedom movement and this way supported for the first Martial Law in October 1958,failure of political leadership. Some very important political events discuss in this thesis. General Muhammad Ayub Khan decided to quit in 1969 and powers were transferred to General Yahya Khan, the 2nd Martial Law Administrator. The democracy was restored in 1972 but this restoration led to another Martial Law imposed by General Zia ul Haq in 1977. General Zia died in an air crash on 17th of August 1988 and Benazir Bhutto became the next elected Prime Minister. For the next 11 years, the government rolled like a ball between Pakistan People‟s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and both the parties led to another phase of martial law. These four military regimes were the same as far as the tactics to assume power and efforts to sustain rule were concerned but during that regime media witnessed a change in its policies. When the martial law was imposed on October 12, 1999, media was on the same lines to praise the ruler and criticize his predecessor. But after the elections of 2002, there was a significant change in its behavior. Many new private channels had been opened like geo news and they started a competition to be more informative, up to date and critical. The change in the electronic media policy of government influenced the print media policy. So, here we are going to have a look on the journey of Pakistani media towards freedom of expression.

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In this thesis some important aspects and events of electronic media history has discuss like electronic media,print media, radio these kind of media are discussing briefly in this thesis and their history and events as well. Like In October 1998, radio Pakistan started FM transmissions and over the period of 2002-2005 new FM stations were opened at major cities. Now these FM stations are very much familiar in this country. In this thesis Establishment role in PTV and media are also discuss. In fact media was just like a puppet in government‟s hands, it couldn‟t take decisions at its own. Now it is a shocking fact for us that free media initiated taken by also establishment key player Gneneral Pervaiz Musharaf in his Martial Law Regime.In his Regime many private channels were launched and Musharaf fully supported them . In this thesis Researcher claimed that this General Pervaiz Musharaf Era Media Golden time was starting and media and media was become a four pillar of the state with freely way . Now Pakistani media is more liberal and vibrant media in this country. Cable system was also introduced in 2004 in major cities of Pakistan and then it expanded all over the country.

A detail history of print media has also discuss in this thesis. Looking at the history of print media in Pakistan in the perspective of political development, it is unfortunate to note that the history of 70 years is full with successful use of all means to suppress media by Government, whether these governments were political or military. Although, Pakistan was achieved in the name of Islam, where every person would be allowed to follow his religion, customs, culture and traditions yet the media were not given permission to work freely. They were not more than a puppet in governments‟ hands. They were not free to defend the democratic values; instead they were working to praise government policies for just to secure themselves. “National interests”, “the glory of Islam” and “the Ideology of Pakistan”This is talking about the role of print media on that time to this time when electronic media was not started.

When one talks about media and its role in deepening democracy it doesn‟t mean that only democracy depends on media, but media is also dependent on democracy. If a country has strong and free media there would be a suitable atmosphere for democracy, and if a state is a strong and has true democracy its media should be strong and free. So, the week democratic background of Pakistani politics is due to the media also, which has not played its due role in the past. Democracy and Media are closely linked with each other. The deficit of one has its negative implications for the other. It is natural that they reinforce each other. However like democracy whose quality is crucial for sustaining it, the media cannot perform its role effectively without maintaining high professional standards and performing their critical role with responsibility.

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Freedom of Speech and Media Censorship in Pakistan. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
“Freedom of Speech and Media Censorship in Pakistan.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
Freedom of Speech and Media Censorship in Pakistan. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2024].
Freedom of Speech and Media Censorship in Pakistan [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 May 25]. Available from:

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