Expert Council

Zaffar Abbas (Pakistan)

Zaffar Abbas is the editor of Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English language newspaper.

He has an extensive career in journalism, starting in 1981, when he worked as a junior reporter for one of the sister publications of Dawn. In 1988, he moved to the Herald, a prestigious Pakistani monthly magazine, as its leading investigative reporter. Four years later, he joined the BBC World as a Pakistan correspondent in Islamabad.

In 2006, Abbas left the BBC to re-join Dawn group and, four years later, was named Dawn’s editor.

During the last four decades as a journalist he has covered all kinds of events in Pakistan and the region, from insurgency and civil war in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation to post-9/11 policies and developments in the region, including the rise of Islamic militancy.

Amid threats and murders of Pakistani journalists in recent years, Abbas has been a vocal advocate of industry’s steps for journalists to keep themselves safe. In 2015, he was elected chairman of the ‘Editors for Safety’, a network of Pakistan newspapers and television editors who work together to protect journalists who come under verbal or physical attack.

He is a member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI). He is also on the Board of Editors of the Asian News Network (ANN), a conglomerate of over 22 newspapers of South and South-East Asia, which largely focuses on news collaboration.

Zaffar Abbas is the recipient of CPJ’s 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.