Pakistan Criticized for Attacks on Journalists


Amnesty International has recently urged the government of Pakistan to take action against human rights abuses against media workers in Pakistan. According to Amnesty International, “journalists in Pakistan live under the constant threat of killings, harassment and other violence from all sides, including intelligence services, political parties and armed groups like the Taliban.” The Pakistani government has nearly completely failed to curb human rights abuses against journalists and has shown apathy, or an inability, to bring those responsible to justice.

Amnesty International has documented 34 cases of journalists being murdered in Pakistan in retaliation to their work since the restoration of democratic rule in 2008, yet only one perpetrator has been caught. The report is based on comprehensive field research into over seventy cases, including interviews with over one hundred media workers in Pakistan.

David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director, has characterized the problem as “a disturbing pattern of abuses carried out to silence their reporting.” Furthermore, “[t]he constant threat puts journalists in an impossible position, where virtually any sensitive story leaves them at risk of violence from one side or another.” In particular, journalists covering national security issues or human rights are most at risk.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has found that Pakistan is the fifth deadliest country in the world for journalists, with a majority of journalist deaths attributable to targeted murders. A secondary reason for journalist deaths in Pakistan is attributable to dangerous assignments.

A democracy requires a free press in order to operate and keep its citizens informed. If journalists live in fear, this creates a chilling effect that stifles effective governance. Currently, Pakistan is one of the largest democracies in the world, and therefore it is imperative that its government heeds the public outcry from Amnesty International and other sources. How do you think Pakistan’s government should respond to such a problem?



One comment

  1. I think Pakistan’s government should certainly take Amnesty’s findings into consideration, and try to solve this problem through any means possible. The government has to make sure that journalists are not afraid of their lives while they are simply doing their jobs. The number of journalists’ death since 2008 is definitely alarming. It is not a surprise that journalists do not feel safe and secure in Pakistan. In an effort to provide a safe environment for journalists, the government must communicate with intelligence services, political parties and somehow armed groups like the Taliban. Since the cause of journalists’ death involve these three sources, they must be informed about providing safe environment for them while they are simply reporting what happens. The government must also do its best to prevent terrorist groups from unexpected attacks that potentially affect civilians and of course journalists.
    Given the situation in Pakistan, it is hard to expect that the government will provide a safe environment for journalists in the near future.

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