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Journalism for sustainable development: The imperative of journalists’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information for promoting sustainable development in Pakistan

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Pakistan is currently facing severe challenges for sustainable development, including a lack of safety and governance, demographic issues, poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, gender violence and inequality, injustice, water shortage, energy crises, rapid increase in pollution and climate change. In addition, the country’s progress towards development and adaptation strategies is quite slow. This study recognizes that journalism has a very crucial role in many aspects of sustainable development in Pakistan, ranging from facilitation of good governance to social cohesion, peace, public participation, empowerment and inclusion. For this purpose, journalists need freedom of expression and require unrestrained access to information. However, Pakistani journalists often confront legal and other restrictions to practicing these two rights, resulting in a lack of their ability to report on critical issues especially relevant to sustainable development. Therefore, drawing on the development communication theory, this study identifies the areas of sustainable development that are reported most by Pakistani journalists. It strives to find out whether Pakistani journalists receive training for development journalism. It also analyses the extent and the ways journalists’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information are restrained when reporting on issues of sustainable development. The study uses thematic analysis to analyse the gathered data through a quantitative method of survey and a qualitative method of in-depth interviews.
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Keywords: Pakistani news media; access to information; development communication; freedom of expression; journalist practice; sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000417629729Khalifa University of Science and Technology

Publication date: October 1, 2020

This article was made available online on April 8, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Journalism for sustainable development: The imperative of journalists’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information for promoting sustainable development in Pakistan".

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