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Pakistan

Blog   |   Lebanon, Pakistan, Russia

November 23 becomes International Day to End Impunity

The IFEX conference in Beirut put a focus on impunity in journalist murders. (Lidija Sabados/IFEX)

Members from around the world of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange met in Beirut last week. On the second day of our conference, amid discussions of the daily problems journalists face, we received word of the abduction and murder of Pakistani investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad. A day later, the conference buzzed with news of an arrest more than five years after the murder of iconic Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. As news unfolded in both cases, impunity--a recurring theme in official meetings and hallway conversations--loudly made its way to the forefront. And on June 2, IFEX members announced that they would join forces to globally put an end to journalists' murders and impunity for their killers, making November 23 the International Day to End Impunity.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Slain journalists' families in Pakistan mourn for lifetime

It's a coincidence, but May 29, the date of Saleem Shahzad's kidnapping in Pakistan, coincides with the killing of journalist Munir Sangi six years ago. Against all odds, Sangi's widow, Yasmeen Sangi, is still fighting for justice in the case of her late husband, while Shahzad's widow, Anita Saleem--who is now responsible for the couple's three children--has decided not to appear publicly yet. Either way, fighting outright or suffering in silence, slain journalists' families pay a price that lasts a lifetime

June 9, 2011 4:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

How can Pakistani journalists protect themselves?

Syed Saleem Shahzad, right, with Pakistani journalist Qamar Yousafzai at the Afghan border in 2006 after being released by the Taliban. (AP)

The memorial service in Washington for journalist Saleem Shahzad--who was killed around May 29--was held at the National Press Club this past Monday. Anwar Iqbal, dean of the Pakistani press corps in Washington, led the ceremony. Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani spoke eloquently about the degree of loss brought by Shahzad's brutal killing. While many of the speakers called for an investigation into Shahzad's death, I had a different train of thought. I focused on an idea that had come up while I was in Karachi this April and May. After all, I thought, too many special investigations have been commissioned and have never seen the light of day, and the same thing seems likely to happen in Shahzad's case. But what if we could have prevented his death in the first place?

Blog   |   Pakistan

Justice for Saleem Shahzad? We've seen this before...

AFP

An important distinction is emerging in the murder of Saleem Shahzad, at left, as details of a second post-mortem were released Thursday. Shahzad was not tortured as has been widely reported. He was more likely beaten to death fairly quickly, apparently with iron rods, according to media reports. Here's the highly respected Amir Mir, writing in Asia Times Online, the site that published Shahzad's article that appears to have led to his death:

June 3, 2011 5:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Rising anger amid accusations about who killed Shahzad

Just a few pointers to the angry discussion that is going on among Pakistan's journalists about the killing of Saleem Shahzad. The Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) seems to have emerged as the prime target of accusation, but it has rejected claims of any involvement.

In an Associated Press of Pakistan article Tuesday slugged "Salim Shahzad death source of concern for entire nation: ISI official," an unnamed ISI official denied allegations that the agency was involved in Shahzad's death. APP is the official news agency for the Pakistan government. The pro-military and security establishment PakNationalists website followed suit with a reprint headlined "Stop Using Saleem Shahzad's Death To Target ISI." And here's the BBC's take on the ISI response.

June 2, 2011 10:47 AM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

A friend remembers Saleem Shahzad

When I received an unexpected call early Monday morning from Saleem Shahzad's wife, I knew I was in for some bad news.

"Saleem has not come home since Sunday evening, when he was on his way to a television studio," she said. She told me that she then remained as composed as possible until she received a call informing her of his death 48 hours later.

May 31, 2011 3:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Sethi: Pakistani media challenging military

Sethi at CPJ offices. (CPJ/Sheryl A. Mendez)

Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi was in the United States last week to talk about the challenges facing his country at a critical moment. Ever the contrarian, he also sees opportunities. "For the first time the media is challenging the military," he told an audience of friends and colleagues at CPJ offices in New York. "That's the biggest positive development out of the whole Pakistan debacle."

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

After bin Laden, a warning to foreign journalists

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed two in Peshawar. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)

Security is always risky in Kabul, as it is in the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan theater. But the May 2 U.S. raid into Pakistan and killing of Osama bin Laden has raised the risk of retaliation against international representatives, including journalists. 

May 20, 2011 1:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Mission Journal: CPJ tackles impunity in Pakistan

After months of planning and preparation, our CPJ team had assembled in Islamabad with an ambitious plan. On May 3, we had a meeting scheduled with President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the country's failure to investigate the killings of journalists. We also had positive indications that our delegation would be able to meet with military officials and possibly even representatives from the Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, the country's all-powerful spy agency.

May 6, 2011 1:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Umar Cheema: 'Their efforts to intimidate me backfired'

Cheema (Pauline Eiferman)

On September 4, 2010, Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema was abducted as he was going home after a dinner with friends near Islamabad. He was held captive for more than six hours, during which he was tortured by masked individuals. He was told to stop criticizing the government in the articles he wrote for the English-language daily The News and was dumped the next day by his car. (CPJ has covered his case extensively.)

Seven months after his ordeal, Cheema traveled to the United States and stopped by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism to talk to students about the dangers of reporting in his country.


April 20, 2011 6:05 PM ET

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