KARACHI: At least 16 journalists were killed and 47 injured in Pakistan during 2011, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said in a report on Wednesday.
Among the 16 journalists, five journalists were allegedly abducted by agencies and their bullet riddled bodies were found dumped on the roadside. Five journalists were killed in bomb blasts while reporting and six were gunned down in target killings. One journalist remains missing after he was reportedly abducted by abduction by an unidentified person, the report said.
The security of journalists remains a big question in the eleven month of this year. No concrete steps have been taken to provide security by authorities or even media houses. The report also suggested that the attitude of media houses is more indifferent towards the safety of journalists as compared to the government. Journalists who are reporting in conflict zones are more vulnerable and exposed to law enforcement agencies, militant groups and other non-state actors.
A vast majority of journalists is under-paid. Some are only given ID cards from the media houses they work for, and have to manage their own earnings, AHRC said.
This year’s report has found that journalists have faced more insecurity and intolerance than in previous years.
The Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) claims that 10 journalists were killed in Balochistan this year and no investigation has been carried out. The BUJ, however, has not provided a list of the names of those killed.
About 35 working journalists, 10 cameramen, one photographer, two drivers and one satellite engineer working for the print media and television channels were injured during separate attacks. Some were thrashed by officials and others beaten by different groups. Three television channel officers were attacked. One was attacked on two different occasions, and one FM radio station office was also attacked. Two television channels were banned to stop their broadcasts.
Journalists killed in the past 11 months
Saleem Shahzad, Bureau Chief of the Asia Times Online, an online news agency based in Hong Kong
Wali Khan Babar, 29, a reporter of Geo News, was gunned down by unidentified armed men in Karachi on January 13.
Nasrullah Khan Afridi, a senior tribal journalist, died in May 2011 when his car blew up in a powerful bomb blast at Khyber Super Market, Peshawar.
Faisal Quereshi, 28, editor for the political news website London Post, was murdered at his residence. His body was discovered on October 7 this year, by his brother, Zahid, after family members found bloodstains outside the journalist’s house. Police reports described the body as showing signs of torture, with the throat slit.
Javed Naseer Rind, sub-editor of Daily Tawar, a pro-nationalist newspaper of Khuzdar, Balochistan
Zareef Faraz, a poet and editor of quarterly literary magazine Shabjoo, of Turbat
Siddique Edio, human rights defender and journalist
Yousaf Nazar Baloch
Rehmatullah Shaheen, journalist and a poet of Quetta
Munir Shakir was working for a Balochi language channel, Sabaz Baat, and for news agency Online. He was shot dead by armed men in Khuzdar on August 5.
Naveed Kamal, 26, was attacked by unidentified men on the night of April 20 at Abul Hasan Isphahani road, Karachi. Kamal was the news reporter at the Metro One TV channel.
Ayaz, 32, chief editor of a weekly newspaper, was shot dead in North Karachi in the Sir Syed police limits on June 12.
Zaman Ibrahim, 40, a newspaper’s crime reporter, was shot dead on Sheedi Village Road in Lyari, Karachi on March 3.
Asfandyar Khan, a reporter for the newspaper Akhbar-e-Khyber, died in a twin bombing that took the lives of more than three dozen people on June 11.
Abid Naveed, working for a newspaper, also died in the June 11 blast, while seven other journalists were injured.
Shafiullah, a trainee journalist of an English daily, who was injured in the twin explosions in Peshawar’s Khyber Supermarket on June 11, succumbed to his injuries on June 15.
A group of armed men with covered faces kidnapped senior tribal journalist Rahmatullah Darpakhel from Miramshah, North Waziristan on August 7. He was associated with Urdu daily Ausaf.