Islamabad: Those in Pakistan`s high offices pay lip service to the media but "what they desire is a media tuned to a level of sycophancy", said a daily, referring to a UN report that said the country is the second most dangerous nation in the world for journalists.
World Press Freedom Day was celebrated in Pakistan, but "there is precious little to be glad about", said an editorial in the News International.
UNESCO has released a report that ranks Pakistan as the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists after Mexico.
It details the alarming increase in the numbers of journalists and media staffers killed in Pakistan with 2011 being the most deadly year yet. As many as 16 journalists died in 2010-11 as against the two and six recorded in the previous two years respectively. Forty-two journalists have died since 1992.
In a scathing criticism of the government, the daily said: "Those in high office pay lip service to the media but what they desire is a media tuned to a level of sycophancy that massages their comfort zone."
"Yet if the government is to avoid yet more international disapprobation it has to at least appear to be upholding media freedoms, gritting its teeth as it does."
"...Whilst it would be churlish to reject the opportunity to institutionalise freedom of information and accountability one might exercise a healthy degree of scepticism, given that the political climate of the country in general is the antithesis of open or accountable or transparent," it added.
A journalist`s killing that hogged international headlines was that of Saleem Shahzad, who was southeast Asia`s bureau chief for Asia Times Online and also worked for Italy`s AKI news agency. He was found dead following his disappearance from Islamabad in May last year. The 40-year-old`s body with signs of torture was recovered two days later 150 km from Islamabad.