Showing posts from September, 2017

Freedoms and sport

Gauri Lankesh's brutal murder earlier this month jolted India and its media in a way we have not seen before; probably because most Indians take their freedoms for granted. Journalists in Pakistan have seen various ups and downs when it comes to media freedom and in spite of a seemingly 'free' and outspoken media, we know very well what self-censorship means and how to exercise caution. We in Pakistan do not take our freedoms for granted because we have seen the rise of right-wing extremism and terrorism over the decades. We know our freedoms can be snatched away in one fell swoop.

I wrote a piece on Gauri's murder for an Indian publication recently. Some Indian readers asked if I even knew her for me to comment on her death. It is as if some Indian readers just did not like that a Pakistani was telling them what media freedom means and how they must fight the obscurantist forces threatening their freedoms. No, I did not know Gauri Lankesh personally but her murder som…

Gauri Lankesh: The view from Pakistan

Journalists in Pakistan are no strangers to danger. Last year, Pakistan was declared the fourth most dangerous country in the world for journalists in a report by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Yet it does not deter many a brave journalist from taking risks and reporting things that can definitely land them in hot water. Some in the Pakistani media still report on issues that many consider taboo or dangerous but only because we do not take our freedoms for granted; Pakistani journalists have fought tooth and nail for these freedoms.

We have all sorts of enemies – be it the state, religious extremists, terrorists and/or mafias, among many other faceless entities. But it’s not just the journalists who are at risk: our society has changed over the years; intolerance is now so widespread that sometimes one tends to become extremely cautious even in a private setting. I see something of the same sort happening in India…albeit at a slower pace but it is still happening.