Pakistan deadliest country for journalists: CPJ
LAHORE: Pakistan was the most dangerous country for journalists in 2011 for the second consecutive year, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in its end of year report.
Seven journalists died in Pakistan during the year in direct relation to their work, out of a total of 43 journalists killed worldwide in the year, the report said. There were no deaths in India, after one killing in 2010. In 2008, four Indian journalists died either while covering the conflict in Kashmir or through target killings due to their investigations of criminal activities.
In combat zones such as Libya, where five journalists died in 2011 – the joint second-highest number with Iraq — the killings tend to be random, with reporters caught in the broader fighting. But Pakistan continues to suffer largely from target killings.
These deaths occur when a reporter has unearthed details about militancy or a business deal and is targeted to stop this information getting out. Five of the seven deaths in Pakistan were targeted killings and all remain unsolved, the CPJ said. In the past five years, 29 journalists have died carrying out their work in Pakistan. Five journalists died in India during the same period.
The best-known case in Pakistan this year involved Saleem Shahzad, a reporter for Asia Times Online, who died in May after writing a report which alleged al Qaeda had infiltrated Pakistan’s navy.
Human Rights Watch, the New York-based advocacy group, said Shahzad before his death had complained of receiving threats from ISI. The agency’s officials deny the threats and any involvement in his killing. The case is unsolved.
“Long-term CPJ research shows Pakistan to be among the worst countries in the world in bringing the killers of journalists to justice,” the report said. Five journalists also died in Iraq from both insurgent attacks and targeted killings, illustrating an entrenched level of violence there as the last US forces pulled out of the country at the weekend.
Three journalists died in Mexico, including the first case of a reporter killed for work on social media, the report said. Many of the dead had taken on Mexico’s powerful drug traffickers in their reports.
The Arab Spring revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa led to the first cases of journalist deaths in Syria and Tunisia since the CPJ began recording fatalities in 1992, the report said. The committee independently confirms that journalists died while covering their beats.
Source: Daily Times