Denying the freedom of expression to mass media, particularly newspapers critical of government leaders and their policies was a defining attribute of colonial rule. This is amply borne out in the cases of Hickey who died penniless and of Buckingham who was deported. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s Scientific Society Newspaper, Muhammad Ali Jauhar’s Comrade, Zafar Ali Khan’s Zamindar and Abdul Majeed Salik’s Inqilab were told as long as the imperial governments found them useful for their agenda of divide and rule. When the British left the subcontinent, the journalists discovered that the post-colonial governments were not much different in their attitude towards the press. Unfortunately, the misperception that the British nurtured a free media in the subcontinent enjoys some currency. The fact is that most newspapers and magazines showing editorial independence had to face difficulties during the colonial rule. Outspoken newspapers, including Dawn, Zamindar and Inqilab had a significant role in the movement for Pakistan. However, this did not stop the post-colonial governments from following in the footsteps of the British with regard to the press. The situation was to worsen over time to the point where attacks on journalists and media organizations would become routine. Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights. In the Constitution of Pakistan it has been guaranteed Articles 19 and 19A. The history tells us that all usurpers of power in the subcontinent, starting with the colonial British, have oppressed journalists and tried to silence their voice. It all started with Hickey’s conviction and imprisonment Here are some instances of the suppression of the press under British Raj: Hickey used a printing press in prison to publish a newspaper. It is in the fitness of things perhaps, therefore, that the press remains in chain in the South Asian region. Hickey was finally deported to China and died on the way there. JS Buckingham, who published a magazine from Dhaka, also came to be noted on account of his criticism of the colonial policies of the British. He was finally sent back to England. The magazine he had founded then became rudderless and was closed shortly afterwards. Raja Ram Mohan Rai and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan were among those who learnt from Buckingham’s example. Rai took out two dailies in Bengali and Persian. When he was restrained he went to London to demand the freedom of expression. When his appeal failed he returned to India and ceased the publication in That journalism had a pivotal role in the Pakistan movement is undeniable. Ehsan, Inqilab and Zamindar highlighted the importance of a separate state for Muslims. Considering the partition demand was not directed against the British the colonial government tolerated it. However, these papers, too, came under pressure and were reprimanded whenever they criticized the British government The newspaper and the journal edited by Sir Syed were never in trouble with the British. This was on account of his policy of faithful compliance with the government policies, aloofness from politics and devotion to the cause of promoting education. Sir Syed was a pioneer in that he was the first in the subcontinent to print editorials in his newspaper. However, when he occasionally disagreed with government policies he was restrained and sympathetic in his criticism. The colonial rule came to an end finally but not the suppression of the press. The worst regime in this regard possibly was Ayub Khan’s martial law. The Press and Publication of Ordinance was promulgated in 1960. The notorious Press Advisory was started. The Associated Press of Pakistan was nationalised and the National Press Trust formed. The dissenting voices, including those in favour of restoration of democracy, were crushed. In some ways the situation aggravated further under the Ziaul Haq regime. Journalists were flogged in public. To his credit the general did revoke the PPO. However, censorship continued. As writer Mohsin Hamid has famously said self-censorship is the most pernicious form of censorship. It is often unannounced and there are no limits to it. In Pakistan where journalists can be victims of forced disappearances it is hard to imagine the extent of self-censorship.