Journalist bodies ask govt to ensure safety of journalists
PESHAWAR: The international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RWB), in conjunction with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), and the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ), has called on the government to “urgently ensure the safety” of journalists and all those working in the media after the death of journalist Abid Naveed, who worked for the daily Akhbar-e-Khyber in the June 11 suicide bombing in Peshawar that killed 34 people.
Eight journalists were among those wounded in the blast. The latest attack makes Pakistan, already in the 151st position among 178 countries in the 2010 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, now the most deadly country for journalists in 2011. Six journalists have been killed this year so far and a total of 17 since the beginning of 2010.
The organisation warned that if nothing was done, “self-censorship, already latent”, would arise, paralysing the media, and “the whole country will pay the consequences”. “The horrific violence and repeated attacks throughout the country, especially in Peshawar, contribute to an atmosphere of terror for all those working in the media. Journalists can no longer work without risking their lives.
“The authorities cannot just condemn the attacks and promise to find the culprits. Their failure to find and punish the killers of the six journalists who died this year shows that the government has not taken steps to ensure that justice prevails,” the Paris-based organisation said in a press statement on Tuesday.
“President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani must make it a national priority to protect journalists, who are special targets in all these attacks. The authorities must increase security in vulnerable areas, react faster to threats to the media and investigate attacks on and executions of journalists,” the organisation added.
The media freedom organisation reiterated the “urgency” of a system of protection for all the country’s media as the number of attacks had soared and journalists are being threatened from all sides. “Each incident paralyses journalists a little more and they are forced to work from home or refuse to report on a topic that might bring them reprisals,” it said.
Source: Daily Times