News / Asia

Press Group: Pakistan Remains Deadly for Journalists

Pakistani journalists demonstate over threats against press in Quetta, Pakistan, April 17, 2012Pakistani journalists demonstate over threats against press in Quetta, Pakistan, April 17, 2012
x
Pakistani journalists demonstate over threats against press in Quetta, Pakistan, April 17, 2012
Pakistani journalists demonstate over threats against press in Quetta, Pakistan, April 17, 2012
Ayaz Gul
— An international watchdog group says Pakistan, where around 100 journalists are said to have been killed in the line of duty during the past 12 years, remains one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press. In the latest World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan dropped eight places, to 158th out of 179 countries.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says that despite having a diverse and lively media, Pakistan remains one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. It added that "the absence of any government policy to protect media workers" continued to hamper the ability of journalists to work freely in Pakistan.
 
2013 World Press Freedom Index

Most Free
  1. Finland
  2. Netherlands
  3. Norway
  4. Luxembourg
  5. Andorra

Least Free
  1. Eritrea
  2. North Korea
  3. Turkmenistan
  4. Syria
  5. Somalia
Critics say the risks to the lives of journalists in Pakistan have increased because the rapid expansion of local media over the past decade, particularly private television channels, has coincided with the rise of terrorism and extremism in the country. Moreover, a low-level separatist insurgency in Baluchistan, along with sectarian, ethnic and politically-motivated attacks in the southwestern province, have also led to the killings of local journalists.
 
Officials acknowledge more needs to be done to provide a safe working environment for journalists. But they point out that Taliban and other insurgents have also killed thousands of security forces.  
 
Deputy Information Minister Samsam Bukhari detailed the steps the Pakistani government is taking to address the concerns of journalists.
 
"We are coming up with [a] few programs like the journalists' training in the war-trodden areas, journalists covering the areas with risk. And we are also coming up with a fund for their families -- God forbid, if something happens. So, yes, Pakistan is not a friendly environment [for journalists] but not the whole of Pakistan, just the areas where the war on terror is going on," Bukhari said.
 
In the first month of 2013, Pakistan has already witnessed the deaths of three media workers. The victims had arrived at the scene of a low-intensity bomb blast in the city of Quetta minutes before another powerful bomb went off. The double bombings killed more than 80 people, mostly Shi'ite Muslims.
 
It is widely acknowledged that there is a lack of information and training for journalists in Pakistan before they are sent to conflict zones or to cover incidents like bomb explosions.
 
"The media houses don’t have security policies they do not prioritize the security of journalists. There are no, for instance, safety protocols or guidelines on security that are mandatory for journalists," said Adnan Rehmat, the executive director of Intermedia, a Pakistani media watchdog.
 
Non-governmental local and foreign organizations have recently stepped up security training programs for Pakistani journalists working in the violence-hit districts.
 
Michael Mcauliffe is the resident journalism adviser in Pakistan with Internews, an international non-governmental organization working to empower local media worldwide.  
 
"What we want to accomplish is trying to make sure journalists understand they are responsible for their safety, that when they are in the field they have to have to exercise the control over how close they are going to be. There are ways to cover stories without always placing yourself at such a significant degree of risk," McAuliffe said.
 
Observers like Adnan Rehmat of Intermedia say that the failure to prosecute suspects involved in deadly attacks on journalists in Pakistan is also encouraging the violence.  He says that if attacks on journalists are not properly investigated and the killers are not prosecuted and punished, then, "impunity will prevail in Pakistan in the foreseeable future".

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid