CPJ mourns journalists killed in earthquake

New York, October 18, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of life in Pakistan, and sends its condolences to the families and colleagues of journalists killed in the earthquake. At least three journalists were killed in the October 8 tragedy and five are unaccounted for. Some 50 journalists have lost relatives and homes.

“Our deepest sympathies go to our colleagues in Pakistan who have lost so much in this tragedy,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We thank the journalists’ unions and press freedom organizations for their tireless work raising support for those who are suffering. Local journalists have continued to work in the face of great loss, reporting from the front lines of this crisis at great personal risk.”

The government says that so far the quake has killed over 40,000 people, caused tens of thousands of injuries, and left at least two million people homeless.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) named the dead as Sardar Hanif of the daily Jang, from the town of Bagh; Abdul Hafeez, the editor of Jurrat from Muzaffarabad, and his wife; and Javed Iqbal Butt, a photographer from the daily Jinnah. At least five other journalists are missing, and as many as 11 were injured from the town of Balakot, north of Islamabad.

The PFUJ is working closely with its affiliates in the Abbottabad Union of Journalists and the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists to compile a list of journalists affected by the quake, including at least 50 journalists who lost multiple family members and their homes. One journalist based in Karachi, Naim Khokar of Jang, lost 44 members of his family, the PFUJ reported. The PFUJ and the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) are organizing relief efforts for journalists.

For more information about contributing to relief efforts for journalists in Pakistan, contact PFUJ Secretary General Mazhar Abbas at [email protected] or SAFMA’s Journalists’ Rehabilitation Fund at www.southasianmedia.net .