7 journalists’ murder cases to be investigated
PESHAWAR, July 31 2006: Pakistani officials have assured the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a media rights group based in New York, of reviewing the investigative records and revealing government information regarding the deaths of seven Pakistani journalists killed since 2002. The officials have also promised to disclose the records of 20 other cases in which journalists have been assaulted or illegally detained. The announcement was made during meetings between a CPJ delegation and Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Secretary Interior Syed Kamal Shah and NWFP Governor Ali Mohammed Jan Aurakzai.
“We’re pleased by these initial promises from Pakistani officials, but it’s important to note that this is just a start in ensuring that journalists can cover sensitive issues without fearing for their lives,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz, a member of the delegation. The CPJ delegation arrived in Islamabad on July 21 to arrange meetings following the killings of journalist Hayatullah Khan on June, 16 in North Waziristan and Munir Ahmed Sangi of th6- Kawish Television Network (KTN) on May 29 in Larkana. The CPJ is concerned that eight journalists have been killed for their work in Pakistan since 2002. Only the case of the US journalist, Daniel Pearl, has been thorougWy investigated.
“The investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl showed that the government of Pakistan can perform well in combating crimes against journalists,” said CP J board member and anchor for AI-Jazeera International David Marash. “We have proposed several concrete steps to ensure a similar level of attention for the rest of the crimes against Pakistani journalists,” he said.
CPJ research shows that while Pakistan’s press is vibrant and growing it has also faced escalating threats in the recent months. The CPJ delegation have proposed a few steps for the government in order to enhance confidence of Pakistani journalists and the international community in the government’s commitment to protect press freedom. They have recommended that the government should publicly recognize that a crisis exists threatening the lives of working journalists. A special unit, to deal with the crimes against journalists, with in the Interior Ministry might also help resolve the C1Irrent situation.
This investigative unit can disclose public reports reflecting its work on each case. Further, public news conferences could also be convened within a week of each report’s publication for the unit officials to discuss the investigations. STAFF REPORT
Source: Daily Times