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Would Allow Unchecked Powers to Punish News Outlets, Journalists

The Pakistani government is seeking broad new powers to control the media as part of its crackdown on freedom of expression. Journalists, human rights activists, and political leaders across that country have raised the alarm about proposed…
Pakistani journalists and activists at a demonstration called by the journalists union to condemn attacks on the media, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 28, 2021.
News

Authorities Should Stop Stifling Dissent, Protect the Media

(New York) – A recent series of attacks and growing pressure on journalists who criticize the Pakistan government is a cause for serious concern, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists said today. Those…
 Pakistani journalist Asad Ali Toor, center, speaks during a demonstration to condemn the attack on journalists, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
News

Government Should Protect Journalists, Not Suppress Free Speech

As part of its crackdown on freedom of expression, the Pakistani government is seeking sweeping new powers to control the media. Journalists across Pakistan have raised the alarm about proposed legislation that would augment the powers of the Pakistan…
Pakistani journalists hold nationwide protests to denounce rampant censorship, and hold a banner that reads: "black day," in Karachi, Pakistan, July 16, 2019.
News

Editor’s Jailing Shows Reality of Media Crackdown

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan asserted there is no media crackdown in Pakistan, and that he and his government are far more “unprotected” than the media. Mir Shakilur Rehman, editor-in-chief of the Jang group, the largest media organization in…
Pakistani police escort Mir Shakilur Rehman to court following his arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, March 13, 2020.
News

Anti-Corruption Laws Abused to Silence Critics

Pakistani authorities should immediately drop politically motivated charges and release Mir Shakilur Rehman, an editor with Pakistan’s largest media group, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should also stop harassing Rehman’s…
Pakistani police escort Mir Shakilur Rehman to court following his arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, March 13, 2020.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Leading Bahraini Rights Activist Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have sustained their campaigns to silence peaceful critics during the first half of 2017, Human Rights Watch said today, updating an interactive website, created in November 2016, featuring targeted human rights activists. On…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
News

Women, Religious Groups, Refugees Endure Violence, Intimidation

(New York) – Pakistan’s government did little to protect vulnerable groups and religious minorities from attack by militant groups in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The authorities clamped down on civil society groups for…
Supporters of the Gender Interactive Alliance dance and chant slogans as they pose with a national flag ahead of the Independence Day in Karachi, August 13, 2016.
News

Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.
News

Region-Wide Crackdown on Social Media Activism

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have attempted to silence peaceful critics in response to a wave of online activism in recent years, Human Rights Watch said in an interactive website that began operating today. The governments have responded to online…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
Report
Summary I have no hope of getting justice in this crooked system. —Umar Daraz, Karachi, January 2016 How do you expect us to recover stolen items from hardened criminals? Do you think they will agree if we say, ‘Be nice to us and return…
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Pakistan’s Supreme Court this week recognized the enormity of the country’s problem of enforced disappearances with a simple directive: identify the bodies. On February 10, the Supreme Court asked federal and provincial governments to ensure that “…
News

Upholds Restrictive Provision Used Against Journalists

(Beirut) – Kuwait’s Constitutional Court dealt a blow to free speech on December 2, 2013, in a case involving a journalist’s Twitter comments.The court rejected a challenge to article 25 of the penal code, which sets prison sentences of up to five years…
News
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
News

Void Jail Term for Editor

(Beirut)– Kuwaiti authorities should immediately end the suspension of the daily Al Dar and void the conviction of its editor for alleged incitement, Human Rights Watch said today. This criminal punishment, for articles in which al-Sultan condemned other…
News

Government has to Take on Military and Intelligence Services and end Impunity

(New York) – The Pakistani government should redouble efforts to find the killers of the journalist Saleem Shahzad, following the failure of the judicial inquiry commission to identify those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today. The commission…
Report
“We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years” Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan Map of Balochistan Summary Key Recommendations Methodology      Background: Conflict and Abuses in…