The Reporters Without Borders (RSF or Reporters Sans Frontieres) has slammed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan over his comment on press freedom in the country, terming it as a "joke" which tantamounted to "obscenity".
Recently, Khan was on a visit to the US and had claimed that media in his country is freer than in Britain.
"It is clear that either you are very poorly informed, in which case you should urgently replace the people around you, or you are knowingly concealing the facts, which is very serious, given your responsibilities," RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in an open letter addressed to Khan on Wednesday.
Deloire criticised Khan over the curbing of press freedom in Pakistan and urged him to take urgent steps to address its "alarming decline".
He listed some instances of media censorship in Pakistan such as 24 News, AbbTakk News and Capital TV channels being taken off air, attacks on journalists and censoring of interviews and press conferences involving Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of jailed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
"These brazen cases of censorship, which seriously threaten journalistic independence and pluralism, are characteristic of non-democratic regimes," Deloire said.
According to the media watchdog, Pakistan is currently ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index.
Taking a potshot at Khan, Deloire said: "Your country has fallen three places in the past year. And the events of recent months offer no grounds for optimism about the 'new Pakistan'."
The RSF Secretary-General urged the Khan-led government to allow Pakist journalists to exercise their profession in "complete safety and with complete independence".
"The credibility of the Pakist state and democracy is at stake," Deloire concluded in his letter.
( With inputs from ANI )