Media in Pakistan present an intensifying contradiction. On one hand, the landscape has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of media outlets, including multiple news channels. The culture of control exists, on the other hand, in both its subtler and overt manifestations. The country’s security establishment continues to pummel bold and enterprising voices. One could argue that, with democracy now taking some root in Pakistan, critical thinking and freedom of expression should flourish. This hasn’t been the case, and the prospects seem dismal for the future.

Lack of vibrancy of Pakistan’s democracy and the role of judges in the context of transgressions of freedom of expression are among the potent factors in the equation. In the absence of matching democratic institutions like independent judiciary and Parliament, pesky journalists have had their heads literally chopped off. Politics and divisiveness around religion complicate matters to push Pakistan among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.