Tulsa Reporter Travels To Pakistan Where Journalists Risk All To Tell The Truth

Monday, January 6th 2020, 12:58 pm
By: News On 6

In America, we cherish our freedoms: religion, speech, and of course, freedom of the press. But those freedoms don't exist in other parts of the world.

News On 6 reporter Taylor Newcomb traveled to Karachi and Islamabad, Pakistan to shed light on some of the struggles journalists face in other parts of the world. She sat down with Azhar Abbas, the managing editor of Geo TV, Pakistan's leading news channel and network.

"All true journalists, we have just one role to play, that's my motto," Azhar Abbas said. "To tell the truth, or at least to tell the truth as much as possible and not to compromise on that."

Abbas said his journalists cannot freely cover topics like crime, politics, and the justice system.

"The threats about censorship - what to write, what not to write," he said.

Officially, he explained, there's no censorship in Pakistan, but his journalists often self-censor themselves, fearing professional - and even personal - backlash.

"We don't know at times, our journalists don't know what the red lines are," he said. "It's kind of a murky situation at the moment."

In the past five years, Abbas said his newsroom has been shut down a handful of times, completely taken off the air, because a particular story didn't sit right with government powers.

"That is also a major concern," he said. "Of course, the safety of our journalists is a major concern."

It's led to financial strain and even layoffs in the newsroom, but Abbas said even under extreme pressures, he and his journalists continue to toe the line, knowing that it's still their job to hold the powerful accountable and inform the public.

"We have to face all these pressures, and under those pressures, we have to perform," he said. "We have to perform still, because we owe it to the people to tell them what is actually happening in this country."

"We are not going to stop fighting, because above all interest is the public interest."

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