The target killing of journalist Mukarram Khan Atif on January 17 by militants has drawn condemnations from many quarters, the latest of which is an agency of the United Nation.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Wednesday issued a statement condemning Atif’s murder and called for measures to improve security conditions for reporters.
Atif was killed on 17 January while praying in a mosque in Peshawar. He had been a correspondent for the private television channel Dunya News and had also worked for Deewa Radio, a Pashto-language station.
The Mohmand native had been forced to relocate to Peshawar in the months leading up to his death, due to threats from militants.
Bokova said that it was “essential for democracy and the rule of law that the authorities investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
“I appeal to the authorities so this crime does not go unpunished. This would be an important step towards improving the security of journalists working in Pakistan,” the statement quoted her.
Twenty-two journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 2002, according to UNESCO figures. In a news release, the agency noted that it was working to improve their working conditions by regularly organising activities in Pakistan to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
In 2010, UNESCO set up training for journalists reporting in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), with the focus on reporting in dangerous areas, security, and journalistic ethics.