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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid