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Sunday, November 26, 2023

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

According to reports, the situation of journalistic practices in Pakistan has improved over last few years in terms of security and safety; however, media still doesn’t enjoy complete freedom.

News Analysis |

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has revealed on Thursday that 48 journalists in the country were deliberately targeted and murdered for their reports from 2002 to till date. An investigative report was published by the PPF on the World Press Freedom Day being celebrated today, May 3.

According to the report, the PPF has investigated over 200 cases of murdered media workers and it determined that 48 were deliberately targeted and murdered for their work from 2002 to present. Another 24 were killed while on assignments but not targeted during the same period, the report added.

The report also claims that 77 journalists came under minor assaults, 18 journalists had been formally arrested, while 26 were detained. Moreover, 32 media houses also came under attack, according to the report, while residences of 11 journalists came under attack.

In 2018 and 2019, PFF investigated 6 murder cases; however, the causes were not their journalistic work but personal animosities.

Threats to Press Freedom

Journalists are facing threats across the world. Authoritarian regimes and developing democracies pose serious threats to the life and liberty of journalists. Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist, points out that “I realized Press freedom is declining all over the world. This decline is slow somewhere and very fast in many countries. More than 250 journalists are behind the bars in different countries. Turkey is the biggest jailor where 68 journalists are behind the bars.47 in China and 27 journalists are in jails of Egypt.”

Read more: Pakistan’s private media: Free or captured?

Mr. Mir also highlighted the state of journalism in Pakistan; he said Pakistan is not among 12 worst countries to jail journalists and also, the number of journalists killed in Pakistan has declined during last two years.

According to the recent World Press Freedom Index 2019 prepared by Reporters without Borders (RSF), Pakistan slipped down at number 142 from 139 out of 180 countries all over the world. As compared to 2014, when Pakistan was at 158, the situation of journalistic practices in Pakistan has to some extent improved over the period of last few years.

Digital Harassment

Moreover, at least 66 per cent of journalists in Pakistan face “digital or online insecurity in various ways which include, but are not limited to, being hacked, threatened, blackmailed, harassed over a sustained period of time, sexually harassed, having data stolen, being cyber-stalked, receiving malware or phishing emails”, said a report issued by Digital Rights Foundations (DRF).

The report titled “Digital (In)Security of Journalists in Pakistan” is on the state of security of journalists to shed light on the threats and concerns journalists face online.

Read more: Four ways social media platforms could stop the spread of hateful content in aftermath…

Media, one of the Strongest Pillars of State

Experts maintain that there is a strong link between the nation-building and freedom of media. Free press is considered to be the primary requirement to ensure transparent and accountable system of governance which guarantees all basic rights to citizens. In the words of Hamid Mir, “poor journalism will make poor democracy. Decline in media freedom will ultimately result in the deterioration of democratic values and weakening of democracy will strengthen the hands of extremists and terrorists.”