An Express TV report shows the damage left by today's attack on the Express Media Group. (YouTube/Express TV)
An Express TV report shows the damage left by today's attack on the Express Media Group. (YouTube/Express TV)

Gunmen open fire on office of media group in Pakistan

New York, August 16, 2013–Pakistani authorities should immediately investigate an attack on the offices of Karachi’s Express Media Group early today, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Four unidentified men on motorcycles shot at the media office more than 30 times, according to news reports. The assailants fled after they opened fire at the building. Police arrived at the scene more than 40 minutes after the attack occurred, according to news reports.

“This kind of senseless violence illustrates the everyday dangers faced by journalists in Pakistan,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. “Until authorities muster the political will to investigate and prosecute crimes against the press, the cycle of attacks will continue.”

Kamal Siddiqi, editor of the group’s English-language paper Express Tribune, told CPJ that no journalists were injured, but a security guard had been wounded in the back and was hospitalized in critical condition. The editor also told CPJ that a woman who works in the media group’s marketing section had sought treatment for leg injuries at a local hospital. The victims’ names have not been disclosed.

The office houses the Express Tribune, as well as the Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Express and the Express TV news channel, all of which are able to continue operations, according to news reports.

Siddiqi said that the motive behind the attack was unclear. Express Media Group’s newspapers and TV stations report critically on politics, crime, and international affairs, and have received threats periodically.

The editor said they had not received any threats about an upcoming attack.

Pakistan has been one of the world’s worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, CPJ’s Impunity Index shows. Earlier this year, Pakistan raised objections to a comprehensive UNESCO proposal to protect the press and combat impunity in journalist murders.

  • For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Pakistan page here.