Curbs on media, civil society undermine Pakistan’s image, ability to progress: Blinken

WASHINGTON: Restrictions on media outlets and civil society undermine Pakistan’s image as well as its ability to progress, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
“We are aware of significant restrictions on media outlets and civil society, more broadly in Pakistan,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference organised here by the Washington Foreign Press Centre.
His remarks came after a report released by a global media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, showed that Pakistan slid from 145th position last year to 157th this year on the World Press Freedom Index.
Responding to a question, Blinken said, “Here again a vibrant free press, an informed citizenry are key for any nation and its future, including Pakistan. I think these practices that we see undermine freedom of expression, they undermine peaceful assembly. They undermine Pakistan’s image as well as its ability to progress.”
The Secretary of State underlined that the US takes up this issue with Pakistan at regular intervals.
“It is something that comes up both in our direct engagements and in the work that we’re doing every day,” he said.
About the global scenario, Reporters Without Borders said the 20th World Press Freedom Index reveals a two-fold increase in “polarisation” amplified by information chaos, that is media polarisation fuelling divisions within countries, as well as polarisation between countries at the international level.

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