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Hassan Niazi | Oct 26, 2016

On October 11, the Government of Pakistan took another step to undermine free speech. By placing one of the country’s leading journalists on the Exit Control List (ECL) it exposed its offhand treatment of a constitutional guarantee. A guarantee provided to the press to speak without fear, write without a trembling hand and to inform without sanction. Placing a journalist on the ECL is a coercive measure aimed at gagging free speech. The argument by the government, that the speech is false or misinformed, should not matter. The constitutional guarantee of free speech gives an extraordinary amount of leeway to the press. As it should, since the press functions as one of the main voices that provides scrutiny of public figures and brings information to the public…

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