Events since September 11
have heavily influenced media policy in Pakistan. Prior tothe Western focus on Islamic terrorist groups, Pakistan was moving slowly toward reducinggovernment control of media. Now the West is offering Musharraf's government strongincentives to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. This has dramatically altered the politicallandscape of Pakistan, and appears to be accelerating the trend toward media openness. WithPakistan under a military government that claims it is moving towards "real democracy," it is allthe more imperative to monitor the state of the media.This report chronicles the events that have impacted freedom of expression over the pastyear in Pakistan and notes the highs and lows of the past year to find that the state of the mediahas been mixed. While some measures give reason to applaud, the certainty of things moving inthe right direction is unclear. Media freedom in Pakistan is not as permanent as the governmentwould have us believe. If anything, the importance of media freedom in Pakistan has grown justas the impatience of the government with the press has grown.
Pakistan’s Constitution was promulgated in 1973 and was subsequently amended anumber of times by the legislature and executive order. Article 19 of the Constitution, asamended, provides as follows:Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall befreedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interestof the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof,friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation tocontempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offense.On October 12, 1999, the military, led by General Pervez Musharraf, deposed thegovernment of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the new government declared the Constitution“in abeyance.” However, as of March 12, 2003, the Constitution of Pakistan has been fullyrestored.