Fears Grow for Safety of Journalists in Pakistan

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’ community.


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.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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