2008 predicted hazardous for journalists covering polls
PESHAWAR: Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) on Wednesday predicted that the year 2008 would be hazardous for journalists covering elections in countries such as Pakistan, Russia, Iran and Zimbabwe.
The RSF is a Paris-based international non-government organisation that advocates freedom of the press. In an annual report on press freedom, the RSF accused public officials across the world of “impotence, cowardice and duplicity” in defending freedom of expression.
In Pakistan: The report called 2007 “a terrible year” for journalists in Pakistan.
“Six reporters were killed, nearly 250 arrested and more than 100 incidents of threats and physical assaults were recorded [in Pakistan]. The brutality came from all sides: the army, extremists, political militants and local organised crime… and Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, rocked by a protest movement launched by judges and lawyers, made life impossible for private TV and radio stations,” the report said.
RSF Secretary General Robert MÃ©nard said the “spinelessness” of some Western countries and major international bodies was harming press freedom. The report’s introduction listed problems expected in the coming year, especially physical attacks on journalists during key elections in Pakistan (February 18), Russia (March 2), Iran (March 14) and Zimbabwe (March 29).
The report also protested against the censorship of new media (mobile phones transmitting photos and film and video-sharing and social networking websites) and highlighted media repression in China in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games this summer.
Source: Daily Times