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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/24/09

Pakistan Is Really Not Safe For Journalists

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The Committee to Protect Journalists in its report has accepted the fact that Pakistan is not a safe for journalists. During last few months several journalists were killed and several others have been facing the threat, but the rulers are doing nothing for their protection. Speaking truth in Pakistan is being considered a big crime. Everyone has been told by the media outlet owners to just report the activities of the rulers. They have no right to give opinion about an issue.

Actually most the news TV channels and newspapers are owned by the rulers. They have been giving job to those people, who only reports what the rulers are saying. There was a time when the rulers wanted that terrorists should be presented as heroes and the media did the same thing. They have tried to present terrorists as heroes. Actually at that time there was impression that Bush liked the war. But now the situation has changed in Pakistan as now there is impression that the US citizens have voted Barack Obama to power for peace. But still Pakistan is dangerous place for journalists.

Escalating violence in South Asia has been putting more journalists at risk, a New York-based media watchdog said on Monday, although the most dangerous places for the profession remained Iraq, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

Those three nations, all in a state of war, have the worst records for failing to solve murders of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.

About 523 journalists have been killed across the world since 1998 in an 'impunity index' compiled by the CPJ, listing at least 14 states with high numbers of unsolved journalist murder cases against the size of the population.

'The political situation in South Asia is deteriorating,' Shawn Crispin, CPJ Asia programme consultant, told Reuters after the group announced its second 'impunity index'.

'These countries are entering now into eras of sustained armed conflict and as soon as that happens, journalists are immediately at risk.'

Crispin said some journalists in Sri Lanka, for example, were being directly targeted by the state, while those in Pakistan were getting caught between opposing political forces.

There were nine unsolved murder cases involving journalists in Sri Lanka in the 10-year period, putting it at number four behind Iraq, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Pakistan has 10 cases of unsolved journalist killings and is ranked 10th in the index.

'The situation in Pakistan is quickly eroding,' said Crispin, a former foreign correspondent based in Southeast Asia.

'There are more and more journalists getting caught, not necessarily in the crossfire itself, but by competing groups. They don't like the coverage of the journalist, they target the journalist.'

Threat to media freedom

Elizabeth Witchel, another CPJ official, said six of 14 states in the index were from South Asia, including India, which is not at war and has functioning legal and law enforcement systems. It is ranked 14th with seven cases of unsolved murders.

Other South Asian states on the CPJ list are Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Russia was the only European state on the list while Brazil was on list for the first time, joining Mexico and Colombia.

Witchel said the CPJ's list only included countries that have failed to solve cases of journalists killed in the line of work.

The CPJ again called on Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do more to establish the rule of law outside the capital Manila, where most of the killings of journalists in the country have taken place.

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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