30 August 2008
Self-censorship call Rejected
IFJ Condemns Intimidation as Kidnapped Journalist is Killed in Pakistan
The International Federation of Journalists today joined the protests of union members in Pakistan over the murder of local journalist Abdul Aziz during an attack by Pakistan forces on the Taliban's hideout in the area of Swat on Friday.
According to information collected by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Aziz, who works for a local daily Azadi and freelances for other media, was abducted two days earlier by a Taliban group and held in a private jail.
He was the first journalist killed since the latest outbreak of violence in the Swat valley and second killed in the tribal areas this year. In May, Mohammad Ibrahim of Express TV was killed by unknown militants in Bajour. Dozens of journalist have migrated from this troubled region where they had become targets both of militants and Pakistan army personnel, says the PFUJ.
“Journalists are caught in the crossfire and government forces must be aware of the security issues facing journalists in the tribal areas,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Many journalists are being threatened by both sides. After this latest tragedy it is even more important that journalists working in these areas pay even more attention to their personal security.”
The IFJ is also backing the Federal Union over demands for publication of a report on an incident in Turbat, earlier this week in which three journalists were injured. The union has rejected calls from Pakistan Information Minister Sherry Rahman for media to boycott information about outlawed groups involved in the conflict.
"Media are not there to glorify so-called militants or others, but to report honestly about the situation on the ground,” said White. “Pakistani journalists, like their colleagues around the world, must be free to report on the activities of groups like Al-Qaeda. The people have a right to know what is going on and any form of censorship will only make matters worse.”
He said the IFJ fully supports the PFUJ demand that media should not become compromised by either government or militant groups while reporting and should not sacrifice their obligation to be impartial in reporting from the conflict areas.
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