Voices in Danger: Pakistan faces urgent calls to address violence against the press

A total of 23 journalists were murdered in the past decade, without a single conviction

Share
Related Topics

The new government of Pakistan today faced urgent calls to address the country’s appalling record of violence against the press.

A total of 23 journalists were murdered in the past decade, with not a single conviction, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a major new report on the troubled country.

The Independent’s Voices in Danger campaign highlighted the plight of Pakistani journalists earlier this week in an interview with Umar Cheema, a local journalist who was driven off the road, taken to an anonymous building and subject to a brutal ordeal of torture and rape. He was explicitly told that the attack was due to his journalism and was ordered to stop his reporting. He refused, despite fears for his safety and that of his family.

The CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator Bob Dietz said: “Government, military and intelligence officials are suspected of involvement in at least seven journalist murders in the past decade. The newly elected government led by Nawaz Sharif has an opportunity to stem the murderous silencing of the Press by implementing security mechanisms for the media and delivering justice in these killings.”The report, also accompanied by a video, alleges a web of manipulation, intimidation, retribution and impunity that has led military officals, intelligence agents and criminal elements of political parties to threaten and attack journalists without fear of punishment.

It cites the cases of journalists like Wali Khan Babar in Karachi, who was shot on a busy street in 2001. While the police did launch an investigation and arrested suspects affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement political party, the investigation seems to have collapsed after five witnesses and other key figures in the probe were murdered.

The report also highlights the case of Mukarram Khan Aatif who was killed at a mosque north of Peshawar last January, just weeks after covering a US military attack on a Pakistani army post. Nearby, it was alleged, the Taliban had been operating freely – right next to the Pakistani Army.

The report makes detailed recommendations to the Sharif government on how to improve the situation but previous administrations have failed to stand up to the powerful ISI intelligence organisation, the army and criminal political elements, the CPJ claimed.

Follow the Voices in Danger campaign here and on Twitter for updates.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot