New York, December 22, 2009—A
suicide bomber detonated an explosive today on the grounds of the Press Club
building in Peshawar, in the North West Frontier
Province in Pakistan. Local and international
media report that three, possibly four, people were killed, though none of the
approximately 30 journalists waiting for a press conference to start on the
upper floor of the building were injured. The Associated Press reported that 17
other people were injured.
The bomber was stopped at the front gate of the building by
a police officer who had recently been stationed there following phone and text
threats from militant and insurgent groups to Press Club and Khyber Union of
Journalists officials in recent days. The
New York Times reported that two of the dead were police officers and a
third was an accountant for the club. The attack is one in a recent string of suicide
and car bombings in Peshawar and many other parts of Pakistan that have
targeted public markets, hotels, government buildings, and military and
intelligence services offices.
Pakistan ranks as the fourth deadliest country in the
world for journalists this year—behind the Philippines, Somalia, and Iraq,
according to CPJ research.
“Local reporters in the border areas with Afghanistan have long been targeted by every
side of the conflict and pay a heavy price for their work,” said Bob Dietz,
CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We call on the
government to protect press facilities, and on media employers to offer
personal safety training and protective gear.”
a five-part series in July, CPJ reported extensively on the plight of local
reporters in Peshawar, the Federally
Administered Frontier Areas, and the North
West Frontier Province. Pakistan ranks 10th worst in the
world on CPJ’s
Global Impunity Index in terms of the lack of legal prosecutions of those
who attack or kill journalists.