The death of a journalist in Karachi last week shows that violence in Pakistan is occurring well beyond the border areas with Afghanistan. On Thursday evening, Pakistani television reporter Wali Khan Babar was executed shortly after airing a report on gang violence in the city.
In an open letter on January 11, CPJ asked U.S. President Barack Obama to raise the issue of jailed journalists with Hu Jintao while the Chinese leader is in Washington this week. They have plenty to talk about, but journalist freedom and security should be near the top of the agenda.
CPJ has written to President Obama asking him to raise press freedom issues when Hu Jintao comes to the U.S. next week. China's practice of restricting and imprisoning reporters domestically has serious implications for the U.S.-China relationship, and a concerning case last month suggests it may be getting worse.
New York, January 13, 2011--Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar was shot and killed in Karachi this evening, shortly after covering gang violence in the city, according to several Pakistani journalists. At least two assailants intercepted Babar's car at 9:20 p.m., shooting him multiple times in the head and neck, Geo TV Managing Director Azhar Abbas told CPJ. One assailant spoke to Babar briefly before opening fire, Abbas said.
New York, January 13, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death on December 31 of Zhang Jianhong, the founder of Aiqinghai (Aegean Sea), a popular website closed by the Chinese government in 2006, according to several human rights groups. Zhang had been sentenced to six years in prison by a court in Ningbo in the eastern province of Zhejiang in March 2007, charged with "incitement to subvert the state's authority" for calling for political reform in articles he posted online.
New York, January 12, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned about public threats made against journalist and National Assembly member Sherry Rehman. The government has stepped up protection for Rehman after she supported a bill in the National Assembly that would amend Pakistan's blasphemy law. The changes include the repeal of the law's mandatory death penalty.
Dear President Obama: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to you in advance of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January to urge you to raise press freedom issues during your talks. We ask that you make clear the depth of U.S. concern that China is the world's leading jailer of journalists.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.