JournalismPakistan.com December 30, 2013
ISLAMABAD: A year-end media freedom roundup issued by South Asia Media Commission says that in 2013, 22 journalists were killed in South Asia in connection with their work with Pakistan (10) again topping the death tally, followed by India (8), Afghanistan (3) and Bangladesh (1).
The commission, a media rights watchdog, noted with dismay that violence against media personnel with impunity continued to remain a major threat to media freedom.
“Unpunished crimes are jeering at major democracies of the region and depriving their people of the right to information. And so, fear is deeply entrenching in families of those killed and in societies,” said the SAMC report for 2013.
Ten journalists were killed in Pakistan earning the country the tag of being one of the world’s five deadliest five countries for media personnel. Journalists in Balochistan and the Tribal Areas were mainly the targets of intimidation and violence with impunity sustaining the climate of terror.
Those killed in Pakistan in 2013 were: Salik Ali Jafri, a Geo News journalist; Ayub Khan Khattak, 42, a reporter of Karak Times; Balochistan-based journalist Haji Abdul Razzak; Ahmed Ali Joiya, a reporter in Bahawalnagar district; Tariq Aslam, Daily Pakistan; Mehmood Ahmed Afridi, Daily Intikhab; Malik Mumtaz, Jang Group; Imran Shaikh and Saif ur Rehman of Samaa TV; and Mohammad Iqbal, NNI News Agency.
The report said a major section of media in South Asia, more so in India than in Pakistan, indulged in conflict insensitive journalism and in doing so, put pressure on the governments of the two countries to go to war.
Other factors having a bearing on media freedom and quality journalism in the region were intolerance for diverse points of views as edicts and threats were hurled at the media.
The report noted there have been huge layoffs causing livelihood anxieties for journalists. Journalists still struggle for fair wages and decent working conditions. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal principally, established laws on the protection of living standards are being breached with little consequence.
The SAMC called on the governments of South Asia to address the issue of violence against the media by bringing perpetrators of past crimes to justice.
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