Newsrooms in South Asia are working under extreme pressures. And these pressures are not the usual ones that journalists face in other countries around the world. It is not just a matter of meeting deadlines, handling workload or competing with other news organizations. Of course these pressures exist too, but the biggest pressure facing South Asian newsrooms is censorship. From the journalists in field, to producers in the newsrooms, to directors and owners in their glass offices, many operate under an environment of intimidation and fear which is forcing news practitioners to self-censor a range of topics and curate news in ways that are acceptable to the powers that be.
In Pakistan, that power is primarily Pakistani military, but there exists other pressure groups too, especially the militants and religious groups. However many of them work as Team B of the military, which is known for running such networks of non-state actors. In India, the power lies with the current Modi government, and with corporate interests. In Bangladesh, the government, and religious extremist groups are dictating their terms to the media.
Outside the media industry, very few know in detail about how exactly these pressures work, but we at SAFENEWSROOMS.org will build that bridge between news consumers and news industry for the first time. We will bring you insider details of what journalists, editors, media owners etc. have to go through when being responsible to produce news. Most of our work will be done with keeping the names of our contributors secret, to guarantee their security. Through anonymous interviews, analysis and commentary, we will focus on stories that are censored, how they are censored, and what is the impact of this censorship. If you have story to share with us, please do submit it on our page for Whistleblowers:
(Please do note that this is currently a beta version of this website, and we will be updating and improving on it in the coming days).