48 journalists attacked in six months: report
ISLAMABAD, July 21 2006: Media in Pakistan faced at least 48 recorded incidents of attacks and harassment during the first six months (January 1 to June 30) of the current year in which two journalists were murdered and 28 attacked or tortured, says a report issued by an international media NGO here on July 21. Statistics compiled from print media by Internews, an international NGO working to promote open media worldwide, reveal that in these 48 incidents, a total of 66 journalists were the victims of harassment and torture.
The report said 25 journalists were kidnapped or detained during the six months. The murdered journalists include Munir Ahmed Sangi of Kawish Television Network (KTN) and Hayatullah Khan of The Nation, who were killed in Sindh province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), respectively. The analysis shows a disturbing trend of increasing incidents of violence against mediapersons and media property in Pakistan, says the report. In January 2006, it said, there were six incidents and in June the number of attacks had risen to 13.
During the period under review, six attacks and raids by government and political groups on media property were reported, including press clubs at Peshawar, Khairpur and Quetta. Geographically, Sindh proved to be the most dangerous region in Pakistan to practice journalism with 29 journalists victimised followed by 17 in tribal areas, 11 in Punjab and seven in the NWFP. Two journalists from the Northern Areas were also victims of harassment. The brunt of physical attacks and threats was faced by the print media where 52 journalists were at the receiving end while 14 electronic media journalists also coming under attack during the first six months of 2006.
The most prominent incident of violence was the killing of Hayatullah Khan, who was kidnapped on December 5, 2005 and found dead on June 16, 2006 in Mirali, a town in North Waziristan, with bullet wounds to his head.