“The press in Pakistan shares the guilt of this nation’s state. It has been silent when it should have spoken, dishonest when it should have been forthright, succumbed when it should have stood fast.”

(Razia Bhatti in the first editorial

piece of “Newsline”, 1989)

Born in 1944 in Karachi, Razia Bhatti started her career in Journalism in 1967 from the Herald magazine. During the next three decades of political and social authoritarianisms plaguing the country, Bhatti defiantly, bravely continued to champion the cause of democracy, social improvement and freedom of speech through her journalism. Infuriated General Ziaul Haq once waved a copy of the Herald at a press conference, saying how he will not allow “this kind of journalism.” Her ethics did not allow her to mold the magazine according to General Zia’s wishes and decided to resign instead. She founded her own magazine, the Newsline in 1989 with the spirit of dauntlessly speaking truth to the power. The magazine fearlessly covered a wide range of stories including drug trade, corruption by politicians and financial institutions, religious persecution, and abuse of women’s rights. Bhatti refused to bow down to multiple harassments and intimidations she received from powerful political elites of the country due to the publications of the Newsline. Tragically enough, Bhatti never received any appreciations, recognitions in Pakistan. Nonetheless, she won such coveted international awards as “Courage in Journalism” from International Women’s Media Foundation. She died in 1996.

In today’s Pakistan, Herald has been closed down, Cyril Almeida has been charged with treason, Hamid Mir has been attacked, Zeenat Shehzadi has been picked up and the official Twitter account of the ruling party trends the criminalization of journalists. Razia Bhatti and her spirit is missed more than ever these days.