Washington, Apr 29 : Freedom of Press has further deteriorated in Pakistan, if the results of the annual "Freedom of the Press Survey" covering the year 2007 issued by Freedom House, are to be believed.
According to the survey of press freedom around the world, Pakistan's score worsened from 63 to 66, thereby reflecting increased attacks on journalists who attempted to cover the growing political crisis and conflict between the executive and judiciary throughout the year. Besides, it also showed overt censorship and other restrictions, particularly those imposed on the broadcast media, associated with the imposition of the emergency in November 2007.
In the table listing 195 countries, Pakistan ranked 144 and was described as a country where the press was "not free", compared to India at No. 77, where the press was termed "partly free."
Out of the countries and territories assessed, 72 countries (37 percent) were rated Free, 59 (30 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 64 (33 percent) were rated Not Free.
The Survey said that the media have played a key role in countries wracked by political unrest and upheaval. Coups, states of emergency, and contested elections have taken place in a growing number of settings, and in many cases, the media have played a key role in covering political conflict and is a prime target when a crackdown takes place, reported the Daily Times.
Overt restrictions on the media included shutdowns of key or pro-opposition news outlets and other forms of overt censorship. In the past year, this was a major factor in the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, said the survey findings.
In terms of population, the survey found that only 18 percent of the world's inhabitants live in countries that enjoy a 'Free' press, while 40 percent have a 'Partly Free' press and 42 percent have a 'Not Free' press.
The relatively negative picture painted by these population figures is due to the impact of two countries - China, with a Not Free rating, and India, with a Partly Free rating, which together account for some two billion of the worldd's six billion people.