Pakistan profile - Media

Image source, Getty Images

Pakistan is one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists. Intelligence agents and members of banned militant organisations are behind "serious threats" to reporters, says Reporters Without Borders.

The government uses legal and constitutional powers to curb press freedom and the law on blasphemy has been used against journalists. The broadcasting regulator can halt the carriage of foreign TV channels via cable, particularly Indian or Afghan ones.

Television is the dominant medium, and there are dozens of private channels. Most viewers watch them via cable; there are no private, terrestrially-broadcast stations. State-run Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) is the sole national terrestrial broadcaster.

More than 100 private FM radio stations are licensed. They are not allowed to broadcast their own news.

Scores of unlicensed FM stations are said to operate in the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. Usually operated by clerics, some of the outlets are accused of fanning sectarian tension.

Nearly 18% of Pakistani citizens use the internet (ITU, 2016). The rapid growth in mobile phone use is boosting the delivery of online content.

Filtering targets content deemed blasphemous, secessionist, anti-state, or anti-military, OpenNet Initiative reports. The regulator has imposed temporary blocks on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites over material it says is "sacrilegious".

Pakistani users active on Twitter include senior politicians and sports and entertainment stars.


  • Pakistan Television Corporation Ltd - state TV, operates PTV Home, regional network PTV National, Baluchi-language PTV Bolan, PTV News
  • Geo TV - leading private satellite broadcaster, owned by Jang publishing group; based in Dubai; services include Urdu-language Geo News
  • ARY Digital - private, via satellite; services include ARY News and entertainment channels
  • Dunya News TV - private, via satellite; Lahore-based
  • Dawn News - private satellite broadcaster, owned by Herald group; first English-language news channel
  • ATV - semi-private, terrestrial network
  • Aaj TV - private satellite broadcaster, owned by Business Recorder group
  • Indus TV - private, via satellite; services include Indus Vision, Indus News and entertainment channels
  • Radio Pakistan - state-run, operates 25 stations nationwide, an external service and the entertainment-based FM 101 network, aimed at younger listeners
  • Azad Kashmir Radio - state-run, for Pakistani-administered Kashmir
  • Mast FM 103 - private, music
  • FM 100 - private, music-based