10 Journalist Killed in 2009
ISLAMABAD: The year 2009 proved another bloody year for media in Pakistan with some 10 journalists laid down their lives in the line of duty across the country in the backdrop of rising terrorism and militancy.
According to the statistics made available by Intermedia, a media development organisation in Pakistan, and other sources, the tendency of targeting, kid napping and intimidating media persons was on rise and as compared to previous years, the attacks on media persons and their kidnappings and killings had witnessed a sharp increase.
Out of the 10 media persons killed during 2009, some four were killed in Punjab, three in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and one each in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA),
Balochistan and Islamabad. In total, some 163 cases of direct attacks on media took place in Pakistan in 2009 including murders, assaults, kidnappings, explicit threats, censorship cases and attacks on media properties and establishments, Punjab bore the brunt of these attacks with 54 cases and NWFP a close behind with 52. Islamabad was the third biggest victim of attacks on media with 28 cases.
Sindh recorded a total of 12 attacks, six each were recorded in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJR) and FATA, and three in Balochistan.
According to the statistics, there were seven recorded cases of abductions of journalists in 2009 in which a total of 10 journalists were kidnapped. Four of the victim journalists were in NWFP, two in Islamabad and one each in Balochistan, FATA, Punjab and Sindh.
The report also documented at least 24 eases of assaults on
working journalists across the country in the calendar year in which 70 journalists were injured. The highest number of journalists, 36, was injured in Punjab while 12 were maimed in Islamabad, 10 in NWFP, seven in Sindh and five in AJK.
At least 28 journalists in 2009 were intimidated by receiving explicit threats in person or over the phone. Of these, nine journalists were in Islamabad, eight in NWFP, 73 in Sindh, and one in FATA. The Inter media report also documented at least 35 cases of official gag orders, censorship or restrictions on publication or broadcast in 2009. Of these the highest number of cases, 23, were in NWFP while four were in Punjab, three in Islamabad and one each in Sindh, Balochistan, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan.
In 2009, at latest 10 cases of physical and armed attacks on media property and establishments, exemplified by the suicide attack on the Peshawar Press Club on December 22. Of these attacks four were in NWFP, two each in FATA and Punjab and one each in Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The rising terrorism, militancy and military action in Pakistan during 2009 also affected media in a major way as exemplified by the suicide attack on the Peshawar Press Club. This escalation in violence to an unprecedented level against the media is a strike against the Pakistani media’s successful role in shaping public opinion against religious extremism and terrorism, it said. “At least 45 journalists have been killed in Pakistan in the last five years, several by suspected militants, but this is the first time that suicide squads of terrorists have targeted media persons as a specific, overt target, indicating a dramatic increase in the level of threats facing the media in the country,” Adnan Rehniat, the Executive Director of Inter media, said.
Rehmat said the Peshawar Press Club is the biggest media establishment in the conflict ravaged NWFP and FATA and even including the Balochistan province. “Targeting the press club means an effort to browbeat the courageous journalists of the region who are already working in difficult conditions and in one of the most dangerous areas in the world to practice journalism,” he said.
The province-wise detail of the journalists killed in Pakistan in 2009 is as follows:
Punjab: Amir Wakeel, reporter for daily Awami Inqilab, was gunned down in January 2009 by unidentified persons in Lahore; Malik Tahir, reporter for Dawn News TV, was killed in March by unidentified persons in Lahore; Raja Assad Hameed, reporter for daily TheNation, was killed in March by unidentified per sons in Rawalpindi’ and Muhammad Akram, reporter for daily Faisalabad, was killed in June by unidentified persons in Faisalabad.
NWFP: Mohammad Imran, reporter for Etidal daily and Tahir Awan, reporter for Apna Akhbar daily, both killed in a suicide bombing in January in Dera Ismail Chan; and Musa Khan reporter for Geo News TV, was shot dead by unidentified persons in Swat in February.
Balochistain: Wasi Ahmad, a reporter based in Khuzdar, was shot dead by unidentified persons in Khuzdar in April. Islamabad: Raza Au, a long-standing journalist, was murdered at his house in Islamabad in September. His arms and legs were tied and he was severely tortured before being killed.
FATA: Unidentified gunmen shot and killed senior Afghan journalist Janullah Hashimzada in Khyber Agency in Au gust.
Following is a tabulation of violations and abuses against the media in Pakistan during 2009.
Source: The Nation