One journalist killed every month in Pakistan: report

By Muhammad Najeeb, IANS,

Islamabad : Twelve journalists were killed and over 201 cases of abuses against the media were recorded in Pakistan in 2008, says the annual report of a media research and development NGO.

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The Intermedia report released here Sunday said the most dangerous place to practice journalism in the country was Punjab, with a total of 64 cases of violations against the media recorded in the province.

The next most dangerous place was Islamabad with a total of 51 violations, followed by 39 in Sindh, 22 in NWFP, 16 in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and 14 in Balochistan.

The statistics also reveal that during 2008, on an average every month one journalist died, more than three were arrested or abducted, six were injured in assaults, about 10 were threatened or intimidated, nearly two media organisations were issued gag orders and overall more than 17 cases of violations against the media occurred each month.

Three journalists each were killed in violence in Punjab and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), two each in Balochistan and Sindh and one each in Islamabad and FATA.

A separate case was recorded of a journalist based in Punjab who committed suicide because of financial problems.

The research report also recorded 13 cases of arrest or abduction in which a total of 40 journalists were victims during the year. Of these, five incidents were recorded in Sindh of journalists being arrested by law enforcement agencies or abducted by unidentified people.

Similarly, 27 journalists were arrested or abducted in FATA in three incidents, five in two cases in Balochistan and one journalist each in single cases in NWFP and Islamabad.

The report also recorded at least 41 cases of assault or injury in 2008 in which at least 74 journalists sustained serious or minor injuries.

At least 118 cases during 2008 were also recorded of intimidation and threats reported by journalists. Of these 39 journalists belonged to Punjab, 34 to Islamabad, 22 to Sindh, 10 to NWFP, nine to FATA and four to Balochistan.

The report also recorded four cases of attacks on media property, one each in Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh and FATA.

A total of 20 cases were also recorded of a ban on publications or gag orders by the government authorities of which 10 were in Islamabad, four in Sindh, three in Punjab and one each in NWFP and Balochistan.