Challenges to media in 2013
The incident of target killing against media people seen considerably reduced in the year 2013 in comparison to the year 2012.
According to statistics compiled by media cell of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) 11 journalists fell victim to terrorist incidents during discharging their professional responsibilities in 2013 out of which six lost their lives as a result of target killing and five at the time of the coverage of bomb blast incidents in Peshawar. On the other hand 16 journalists were killed in 2012 as result of target killing. According to a report, 98 journalists have been murdered during last 13 years but neither a single culprit had been arrested nor the government had provided any financial relief to families of the victims.
Those who fell victim to target killing in 2013 included Malik Muhammad Mumtaz who was shot dead in North Waziristan; Mehmood Khan Afridi was murdered by armed persons when he was going to home in Kalat District, Balochistan. Abdul Razzaq Sarbazi was kidnapped from Lyari, Karachi, last March and after 44 days his dead body bearing torture wounds was found in Surjani Town. Ahmad Ali Joya was shot dead in Bhawalnagar in March last year. Ayoub Khattak was gunned down outside his house in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sheikh Ali Mohsin was also attacked and killed by unknown armed persons near his house in North Karachi area.
The media peoples, who died, while covering bomb blasts incidents in Peshawar last year, were Saifur Rehman, Imran Sheikh, Muhammad Iqbal, Muhammad Mohsin and Tariq Aslam.
The other incidents of harassment and victimisation of media people reported in 2013 were two attacks on a media house in Karachi by a banned religious organisation, murder of 4 family persons of Hafiz Muhammad Hussain, a correspondent of a local Urdu daily for exposing criminal activities of a land lord of Larkana, murder of son and daughter in law of senior journalist Ahmad Ali of Hyderabad by unknown assailant, attack on a TV team by drug mafia at Tando Adam, Sindh, attack on a Balochi magazine office in Karachi by unknown armed person, suspension of an Urdu and Balochi TV transmission for 44 day in some cities of Balochistan on the threats of a political organisation.
The Balochistan High Court through an order banned publication of statements of a defunct organisation but on the other extremist organisations threatened journalists that in case their news items are not published they will attack on journalists and media houses.
In October last defunct TTP released a ‘Fatwa’, saying that they are busy in jihad and if the media did not stop propaganda against them the media people would be liable to be murdered. The newly elected Amir of defunct TTP Molvi Fazlullah has recent conveyed same threat to media people in Pakistan.
Keeping in view of threats faced by the media in Pakistan which is known as fifth most dangerous country for journalist globally, the CPNE and Coalition on Media Safety organisations in a joint meeting held recently have asked the media houses to adopt their own security protocols instead of depending on government organisations for the safety and security of journalists.
It was also emphasised that necessary training regarding safety measures be provided to journalists for deputing to them for coverage in troubled areas. It is the responsibility of the editor while selecting news items for publication regarding terrorist organisation activities, not to expose source of the news in order to save him from any kind of victimisation in future.