Access to information is the right of every citizen of Pakistan - this also includes being able to subscribe to a publication of their choice. However, there is growing censorship in the media, especially as the dates of the general elections are drawing near. One media group which is being targeted at the moment is Dawn, as confirmed in their statement that hawkers are being stopped from distributing the paper in several parts of the country. This is a gross violation of the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan which guarantees the freedom of the press unless there is a special restriction imposed in circumstances that pose a threat to the security of the state. However, that too is a legal course of action and is not initiated without due process. Prohibiting the distribution purely on the personal basis is an act against the constitution of Pakistan and must be looked into because guaranteeing a right offered by the constitution is the duty of all the institutions of the state.

A state is bound to be home to a variety of opinions - it is next to impossible to push a single narrative. Unless a certain individual group of individuals or a publication is found guilty of acting against Pakistan’s interests, their opinions cannot be shunned and snubbed because freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution. Media over the years has become an important institution in the country. It acts as the interest articulator and aggregator of the masses and plays an important role in the polity. This has resulted in people developing their own preferences for certain publications and it is their right to consume the content that they personally prefer.

We live in a global digital age where such blanket bans are bound to be noted and create the air of insecurity because it portrays that certain elements are trying to infringe upon the basic rights of the people of the country. Such a scenario is the epitome of soft coups in place and definitely something democratic countries should rigorously act against. Pakistan is transitioning into a democratic setup - the second democratic regime is completing its tenure. Such restrictions will take back Pakistan to the pits of history which have resulted in the current abysmal state.