ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, claimed on Tuesday that the storey of a restriction on freedom of speech in Pakistan was being spread by a conspiracy.

In a tweet, the minister claimed that a certain entity was behind the misinformation effort aimed at bringing Pakistan under the Financial Action Task Force and other regulatory networks.
He went on to say that certain “false groups” from outside first started spreading “fake news,” and then a “particular indigenous gang” in Pakistan propagated it without knowing what it was about.

Fawad’s reply came a day after Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based organisation, released a report headlined “Press freedom predators gallery – ancient tyrants, two women, and a European.”

According to the organisation, “cases of blatant censorship have been countless since Khan became prime minister following legislative elections in 2018,” referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan. According to the report, under PM Khan’s tenure, newspaper circulation was disrupted, media businesses were threatened with losing advertising, and TV station signals were blocked.

Journalists who breach the red lines are intimidated, kidnapped, and tortured, according to the media watchdog.
Pakistan has flatly denied the findings of an international media monitor.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said it is surprising that RSF has concluded that the media in Pakistan is subject to “increasingly draconian censorship measures by Imran Khan’s government,” despite the fact that the current government has taken all possible steps to create a conducive environment for journalists to carry out their duties.