Pakistan - Media

Postal, telegraph, and telephone services are owned and operated by the state. In 1999, the number of mainline telephones in use totaled 2.8 million. In 1998, there were 158,000 cellular phones in use. Automatic telephone service has been installed in most cities and large towns. Radiotelephone and radiotelegraph services are available within the country and to foreign countries.

Pakistan's Indian Ocean INTELSAT communications stations began service in 1971 near Karāchi. Through Azad Kashmir Radio and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, the government operates 18 shortwave radio stations. Karāchi is the broadcasting center, and there are important transmitters at Hyderabad, Quetta, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Multan, Bahawalpur, and Islāmābād. Government-run Pakistan-TV broadcasts at least 10 hours a day through 28 transmitters. In total, as of 1999, there were 26 AM, 3 FM, and 22 television stations in use. In 200 the country had 105 radios and 131 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2000, there were 1.2 million Internet subscribers served by 30 service providers.

Daily newspapers–most of them with very small circulations— are published in Urdu, English, and a few other languages. English-language newspapers are read by less than 1% of the population but are very influential, especially Dawn (2002 estimated circulation, 80,000), published in Karāchi, and Pakistan Times (50,000), published in Lahore and Rawalpindi. Leading Urdu-language dailies (with 2002 circulations) are Jang (750,000) and Hurriyet (600,000), both in Karāchi, and Jang Lahore (1,200,000) and Nawa-e-Waqt (560,000), in Lahore.

While freedom of the press has always been provided for constitutionally, censorship was imposed on the press by the martial law governments. Between 1979 and 1982, local censors reviewed items prior to publication, and some books and periodicals were confiscated. Even after the lifting of censorship, the government continued to influence press coverage by controlling the availability of newsprint, which must be imported, and the placement of government advertising, which is a source of newspapers' revenue. There are no longer restrictions on the importation of newsprint. There is a constitutional prohibition on the ridicule of Islam, the armed forces, or the judiciary.

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