Tuesday’s blog about threats to Hamid Mir generated a lot of discussion on our site.
Mir messaged overnight, saying his case was widely reported in newspapers and discussed in Parliament, and there will be a committee of Parliament established to probe the issue. The Associated Press of Pakistan noted that “Minster for Interior Rehman Malik condemned the threatening message to Mir” and the government will “ensure full protection and security to Hamid Mir and journalist community.” And The News noted that “President Asif Ali Zardari has taken serious notice on threats to senior journalist/anchorperson Hamid Mir and ordered investigations into it.”
Since the post went up, CPJ has gotten two more requests from journalists who say they are under threat, including one with whom I have met while in Pakistan. Unfortunately, they don’t have as high a professional profile as Mir has, and are reluctant to go public. Our tactic is to refer them to resources available in Pakistan and, frankly, to vet the validity of their claims.
As Asad Khalid Baig from the Open Society institute has pointed out, there is momentum toward addressing the problem within Pakistan. His Wednesday blog How to Protect Journalists in Pakistan notes several steps underway:
International Media Support (IMS), a Denmark-based nonprofit working to support local media in countries affected by armed conflict, along with its local partners a href=”http://www.intermedia.org/”>Intermedia Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), is conducting an extensive three-year project to improve safety conditions for journalists in Pakistan. The project focuses on developing safety protocols, consensus-building among stakeholders, conflict-sensitive reporting and survival trainings, advocacy on safety, and lobbying to end impunity.
Baig makes several other strong points — it’s worth reading his post in full.