Journalists unsafe in Pakistan: report
ISLAMABAD, Dec 28: Pakistan, especially Punjab, remained a dangerous place for journalists in 2008. Twelve media men were killed and 208 cases of abuses were recorded over the past year, according to a report issued by a media development organisation.
Violence against media personnel continued unabated with three journalists killed in Punjab and three others in the NWFP, two each in Balochistan and Sindh and one each in Islamabad and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), the report released by Intermedia, a local NGO, said.
The case of a journalist who committed suicide in Punjab because of financial problems was cited separately.
According to the report, 13 incidents of arrest or kidnapping took place over the year, involving at least 40 journalists. Of these, five incidents took place in Sindh, in which five journalists were arrested or abducted. Twenty-seven journalists were arrested or kidnapped in Fata in three incidents, five in two such cases in Balochistan and one journalist each in the NWFP and Islamabad.
At least 41 cases of assault or injury were also recorded in which at least 74 journalists were injured. Of them, 27 journalists were beaten up in 16 incidents in Punjab, 12 in five cases in Balochistan and 12 others in eight cases in the NWFP, five in Sindh and four in Islamabad.
Journalists reported at least 118 cases of bullying and verbal threats in the past year. Of them, 39 journalists belong to Punjab, 34 to Islamabad, 22 to Sindh, 10 to NWFP, nine to Fata and four to Balochistan.
The report also recorded four cases of attacks on media property, one each in Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh and Fata.
Twenty cases of government ban on publications or gag orders were also recorded. Of them, 10 took place in Islamabad, four in Sindh, and three in Punjab and one each in the NWFP, Balochistan and Azad Kashmir.
According to the report, 208 incidents of violence against the media took place in 2008 with Punjab being the most dangerous place to practice journalism with 64 cases recorded throughout the year.
The next most dangerous place was Islamabad with 51 cases, Sindh with 39, NWFP with 22, FATA with 16, Balochistan with 14 and Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas with one each.
The report said that over the past year, on an average a journalist died every month, more than three were arrested or abducted, six were injured in assaults, about 10 were threatened or intimidated, nearly two media organizations were issued gag orders and overall more than 17 cases of violations against the media occurred every month.