The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) joins the Pakistan
Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in calling on Pakistan’s
Government and media owners to address the extreme dangers confronting media
workers in the country’s most troubled regions and towns, including the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the Swat
Valley, Baluchistan and Peshawar.
The PFUJ’s Biannual
Delegates Meeting in Faisalabad at the weekend included
a long session on the safety concerns of media personnel, which the PFUJ said
was now the priority issue for Pakistan’s
Journalists at the
meeting spoke of their fear of death threats from various quarters and the
great difficulties they had in compiling and submitting their news reports.
Others said they had stopped sending their children to school in fear for their
safety. Other accounts referred to the especially difficult circumstances for some
women journalists in towns such as Peshawar.
The PFUJ, an IFJ
affiliate, fears that many journalists will quit the profession or endure
continuing threats if the Government and media owners do not take serious steps
to ensure the protection of media personnel.
The PFUJ resolved to
encourage a parliamentary inquiry into terrorism to invite journalists from the
country’s trouble spots to give in-camera evidence.
The IFJ firmly endorses
the union’s warning that media houses will be held responsible for harm
committed against media personnel if they send reporters and camera operators
into conflict areas without adequate safety training, insurance and the
security of regular employment.
“Journalists should also
take a stand with their editors in refusing to go in these areas without proper
safety. Truth is dying in these areas and so are journalists,” a resolution of
the meeting said.
The PFUJ welcomed the continuing
support of the IFJ and called for national and global support for journalists
working in Pakistan,
including through further fact-finding missions.
The three-day meeting also elected new office-holders to the
PFUJ. The new committee comprises Pervez Shukat (President), Asad Shai and Sohail Qalander (Vice-Presidents),
Shamsul Islam Naz (Secretary General),
Shakeel Yameen Kanga and Waseem Farooq Shahid (Assistant Secretaries
General), and Makhdom Bilal Amir (Finance Secretary).
A report of the PFUJ’s investigation into the murder of Musa
Khankhelis due to be released this week. The bullet-riddled body of Khankhel, a reporter for The News
International and GEO News, was found on February 18 after he went missing
in Swat that day.
He was the
third journalist killed in the line of duty in Pakistan in 2009, and the fourth
journalist killed in Swat since 2007.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide