Pakistan third most dangerous country for press in 2006
PESHAWAR: A Committee to Protect Journalists analysis has ranked Pakistan third in order of the most dangerous countries for the press in 2006, with the deaths of two journalists. The CPJ is a New York-based media watchdog that was founded in 1981 to compile and analyse the deaths of journalists every year. The CJP said that violence in Iraq killed 32 journalists in 2006 — the deadliest year for the press in a country that the committee has ever recorded. In most cases, such as the killing of Atwar Bahjat, one of the best-known television reporters in the Arab world, insurgents specifically targeted journalists to be murdered in Iraq, the CPJ found in the analysis that was received here via email on Thursday.
The CPJ said that 55 journalists had been killed worldwide in direct connection to their work in 2006, and the committee was investigating another 27 deaths to determine whether they were work-related. The figures reflect an increase from 2005, when 47 journalists were killed in direct relation to their work, while 17 others died in circumstances in which the link to their profession was not clear. Afghanistan and the Philippines, each with three deaths of journalists, were the next most dangerous datelines on the CJP’s list in 2006, followed by Russia, Mexico, Pakistan and Colombia, each with two deaths. The CJP research showed that all of these countries were traditionally dangerous for the press.
However, for the fourth consecutive year, Iraq was in a league of its own with this year’s killings bringing the number of dead journalists to 92. Also, 37 media support workers — interpreters, drivers, fixers and office workers — have been killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The CJP also found that only four journalists died in Iraq in 2006 as a result of crossfire or acts of war, while the other 28 were murdered, half of them threatened beforehand. Three were kidnapped and then slain, said the CPJ. “The deaths in Iraq this year reflect the utter deterioration in reporters’ traditional status of neutral observers in wartime,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
“When this conflict began more than three and half years ago, most journalists died in combat-related incidents, but insurgents now routinely target journalists for perceived affiliations — political, sectarian or Western. This is an extraordinarily alarming trend because along with the terrible loss of life, it is limiting news reporting in Iraq, and in turn, our own understanding of a vital story.” The viciousness of the onslaught in Iraq was shown on October 12 when masked gunmen attacked the Baghdad offices of a fledgling satellite TV channel, Al-Shaabiya, and killed 11 people, five of whom were journalists. It was the deadliest single assault on the press since the 2003 invasion.
Source: Daily Times