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Friday, May 24, 2024

Pakistan Among World’s Poorest Countries To Provide Justice to Slain Journalists

While press freedom is gradually achieving a stronghold in Pakistan, the country still needs to introduce robust reforms to provide justice to slain journalists.

Pakistan stands among the world’s poorest countries to protect its journalists and provide them justice, claims the recent report of Community for Protection of Journalists (CPJ). According to the report, Pakistan is placed at 8th spot in the list, just a few spots behind some African and war-torn Middle Eastern countries.

While Pakistan ranks 142 in the World Press Freedom Index, alternatively, the CPJ report highlights its ineptness in protecting and providing justice to deceased journalists. Pakistan, along with India and Bangladesh, is pooled in a group of 13 countries which accounts for the highest number of unresolved cases of murdered journalists.

The report has attributed such a high ratio of unresolved murder cases to “unchecked corruption, ineffective institutions, and lack of political will to pursue robust investigations’ in its report.

The investigative agency took account of murders that were carried out with complete impunity from September 1, 2009, to August 31st,2019. Unfortunately, at least 16 of such cases were found in Pakistan.

Read more: Freedom of Press in Pakistan under threat from multiple fronts

Of the murdered CPJ journalist, some of them belonged to TV channels, seven were associated with print and online editions whereas one of them was a freelancer.

As for their provincial affiliation, seven of them were killed in Balochistan as compared to five in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and two each in Sindh and Punjab.

Journalist Hamid Mir, who survived a horrendous assassination attempt, and CPJ’s Stephen Butler echoed similar assertions when asked about Pakistan’s dismal record of providing justice to slain journalists.

Hamid Mir asserted that in several cases powerful people were involved and the state failed to persecute them. While Butler pointed out the lack of conviction of investigative agencies to pursue such cases. Adding that, “This is often a result of attitudes at the local government level, but there’s no pressure for resolution from provincial or federal authorities. Sometimes this may be due to suspicions of official involvement in the murders.”

He also added that the custom of ‘blood money‘ or Diyat also comes in the way, which halts the conviction process.

Read more: World Press Freedom Day: 48 journalists murdered in Pakistan since 2002

The reports, however, show that Pakistan has made gradual progress in the preceding years to address such cases, which amounted to its improvement in the ranking. Pakistan has been juggling its place in the list of top 10 countries since 2012. 2018 recorded the worst year following Pakistan’s position as the second-worst country in the world for unresolved cases of murdered journalists.


A lot of concerted efforts are required if Pakistan wants to skip the category of the top 10 worst countries, at least.