Only days after the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was joined by journalists’ organisations around the world in demanding the Pakistan government take action to address the appalling press freedom and journalist safety situation, the IFJ is shocked to learn of the murder of a journalist and kidnapping of another in Pakistan.
“The news keeps getting worse and worse. The Pakistan government can no longer ignore the dire conditions journalists’ face, and we again urge President Musharraf to take concrete steps to protect journalists and a free media,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
According to IFJ sources, Noor Ahmed Solangi, (30) a reporter for Sindh-language daily Khabroon was gunned down on June 17, by two unknown assailants in Pir jo Goth, in the interior of Sindh.
Although the motive for Solangi’s murder is still unknown, there is reportedly speculation it could have been part of a feud between Junejo and Solangi tribes.
Local journalists in the interior of Sindh held demonstrations while journalists covering Sindh Assembly staged a walk-out in protest, according to local reports.
In the same weekend, senior journalist Latif Khosa, staff reporter of leading Urdu daily Jang, was allegedly kidnapped by intelligence agencies near Jafferabad, Baluchistan, IFJ sources report.
According to local reports, Khosa's relatives have accused intelligence agencies of kidnapping Khosa and expressed concern over his mysterious disappearance.
The Baluchistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) and Quetta Press Club reportedly held protests against Khosa’s kidnapping today in front of the Press Club.
These latest attacks come as Pakistani journalists mourned the one-year anniversary of the brutal death of Pakistan tribal journalist Hayatullah Khan, who was murdered on June 16, 2006, more than six months after he disappeared.
To mark the anniversary, journalists’ organisations around the world participated in a day of action on June 15 to protest the terrible press freedom and journalist safety situation in Pakistan, and delivered letters to their local Pakistan embassies demanding action from the government.
“It is deeply distressing that only days after 16 organisations in 12 countries joined the IFJ and its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in demanding the Pakistan government provide a safe and free environment for media in Pakistan, we must mourn the murder of another colleague and the disappearance of one more journalist in Pakistan,” Park said.
“This is another devastating black day for Pakistan, and the IFJ stands in solidarity with our Pakistani colleagues during these difficult times,” she said.
“We demand a full investigation into the murder of Solangi, and call on authorities to act quickly to ensure the safe return of Khosa.”
To participate in the campaign for press freedom in Pakistan, and to view images of organisations that participated in the International Day of Action, go to www.ifj-asia.org.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries