Pakistani journalists stage protests to denounce censorship

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani journalists are holding nationwide protests to denounce rampant censorship by the country’s powerful security services, massive layoffs due to budget cuts and months-long delays in payments of their wages.

Yesterday’s rallies, dubbed Day of Protests, are spearheaded by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. It says journalists, who face the roughest phase in the country’s history, have decided to “fight the unprecedented censorship.”

President of the union Afzal Butt said the rallies are only the “beginning of a protest movement.”

Journalists and press freedom advocates say the country’s military is pressuring media outlets to quash critical coverage while the newly elected government is slashing its advertising budget, squeezing a key source of revenue for private newspapers and TV stations.

A journalist shouts slogans during a demonstration to denounce rampant censorship, in Islamabad, Pakistan. – AP