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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More