‘Journalists’ protection in Pakistan weakens’

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ISLAMABAD: Although globally casualties of journalists have been reduced, yet in Pakistan’s case, the situation has deteriorated from sixth to fourth most dangerous county of the world for journalists, the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) that fights for the protection of journalists round the globe has said. 

Besides, there are also plenty of reported and unreported cases of intimidation to journalists in the country from various quarters. In first six months (Jan-June) of 2017, the numbers of journalists assassinated stood at five in Pakistan, while two in India (stands at sixth). The journalists’ protection has worsened in Pakistan, while it remained unchanged in India. In 2016, both neighboring courtiers were at number sixth, and now, Pakistan has become as fourth world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, while India maintained the same sixth position like last year.    

Last year in 2016 [Jan-December], the number of journalists killed in Pakistan and India were six each out of 127 journalists perished in 31 countries which was the highest number in last one decade. Excluding this, 20 Brazilian journalists killed in plane crash in Colombia and nine Russian journalists perished in another plane crash in the Black Sea that jacking up total journalists killing at 156 in 2016. 

In last five and a half year [2012 to June 2017], 55 journalists killed in Pakistan standing at third most dangerous country after Syria and Iraq on first and second places. 

When ‘The News’ contacted PEC Secretary General Blaise Lempen, he said, “Pakistan is still among the most dangerous countries this year with five journalists killed in six months after Mexico, Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Most have been victims of terrorist attacks in the border regions of Afghanistan. These regions are very dangerous in the context of the war on terror.”  “Protection of journalists must remain a priority as long as the conflict lasts. To have independent witnesses on the ground is very important. The government has still much to do to fight impunity to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he further told this scribe.

According to the PEC record, 50 journalists were killed in 18 countries from January to the end of June 2017. Four countries concentrate more than half of the fatalities, Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

During the same period (January to June) and with the same criteria, 74 journalists were killed in 2016 (reaching 156 for the whole year): the decrease is significant with 32pc less casualties than the previous year.

PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen said that it is a positive improvement. Many meetings held on the issue of the safety of journalists, the adoption and implementation of UN resolutions, measures undertaken to enhance training and protection are bearing fruit. However, in three countries, Mexico, Iraq and Afghanistan the situation continued to deteriorate.

“In these countries, we have not been able to hold the breaks on the terrible tally. We must do more in the fight against impunity,” adds Lempen.  Journalists are still paying a high price for covering and witnessing unresolved conflicts.

Most dangerous countries In six-month period [Jan-June 2017], Mexico has been the most dangerous country for media work with nine journalists killed, Afghanistan the second with seven media workers killed.

Iraq follows with six killed until 30 June 2017. Two other journalists were killed at the beginning of July near Mosul. Five journalists perished in Pakistan, three each were killed in Russia and Yemen. Two journalists each were killed in Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Peru and Philippines. One journalist each was killed in Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Honduras, Maldives, Nigeria, Syria and Turkey.

Originally Posted on The News

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