Pakistan / 2011

CPJ Blog

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More revelations of threats to Pakistani journalists

December 30, 2011 11:54 AM ET

We released a statement Thursday--CPJ supports Pakistani journalists facing threats--about the decision of two Pakistani journalists to publicly announce the threats they had been receiving. Najam Sethi, editor of The Friday Times and host of a popular Urdu-language political program on Geo TV, and Jugnu Mohsin, also a Friday...

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'Where is the state?' asks Pakistani journalist under threat

December 27, 2011 1:45 PM ET

Since making me aware of threats to Hamid Mir on December 20, Umar Cheema and I have been encouraging Pakistani journalists we know who are under threat to step forward with their own experiences. Ghulamaddin, producer for Samaa TV in Karachi who broke the story of students held in...

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More on threats and journalist safety in Pakistan

December 22, 2011 4:55 PM ET

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...

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Pakistan's Hamid Mir publicizes a death threat

December 20, 2011 1:54 PM ET

Geo TV's most prominent television anchor, and one of the most prominent journalists in Pakistan, has just circulated a detailed email message of threats he has been receiving. Hamid Mir's open, public response to the threats is a textbook case of how to handle the steady stream of intimidation that...

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Journalists killed: Inside the numbers

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

CPJ today released its annual tally of the journalists killed around the world. This is always a somber occasion for us as we chronicle the grim toll, remember friends who have been lost, and recommit ourselves to justice. It's also a time when we are asked questions about our research...

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Six years later: Hayatullah Khan's family calls for justice

December 6, 2011 5:04 PM ET

Six years after the murder of journalist Hayatullah Khan, his brother Ahsan Ahmad Khan has asked CPJ to put pressure on the government and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ensure that a special investigation carried out in September 2006 into the journalist's death be released. (A copy of...

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Awardees to their colleagues: Buck the system

November 23, 2011 11:49 AM ET

The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria might seem like an odd venue to stage a call for resistance. Nine hundred people in tuxedos and gowns. Champagne and cocktails. Bill Cunningham snapping photos. This combination is generally more likely to coax a boozy nostalgia than foment a revolution. But...

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A call to continue the struggle against impunity

November 23, 2011 11:47 AM ET

Last night, hundreds of journalists and members of New York's press freedom community met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan for the Committee to Protect Journalists' XXI annual International Press Freedom Awards. At the event--celebrating the extraordinary courage of five journalists from across the globe--guests and award recipients...

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Why I fled Pakistan

November 17, 2011 11:22 AM ET

In May 2006, at the age of 23, I joined the Daily Times, Pakistan's most liberal English-language newspaper, as a bureau chief. I was perhaps the youngest bureau chief to cover the country's largest province, Baluchistan, and its longstanding, deadly insurgency. I covered fierce military operations, daily bomb blasts,...

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From Karachi to New York: A tale of fear, loss, and hope

October 25, 2011 3:27 PM ET

On Monday, a well-known Pakistani journalist came to our office in New York. We had been messaging and texting for a few weeks, so I knew what to expect. Despite the harsh reality check that CPJ's Sheryl Mendez and I offered during our 90-minute meeting, he is going ahead...

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Baluchistan's press under siege

October 17, 2011 3:14 PM ET

Reporters in Pakistan's conflict-stricken province of Baluchistan have been organizing to display their anger against the continued death threats they have been receiving from government secret services, religious militant groups, and armed nationalist organizations. Their most recent demonstration on October 1 was only one in a string of protests...

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A killing field: The targeting of journalists in Pakistan

September 1, 2011 1:12 PM ET

For the past several weeks, CPJ's Asia and Journalist Assistance programs have been in regular contact with local and international organizations who are concerned about the rising number of journalists and media workers at risk in Pakistan. CPJ and several other groups are working together on viable, in-country solutions:...

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Threats against Pakistani journalists: A reality check

August 18, 2011 3:45 PM ET

In a blog entry on August 5, "Quantifying the threat to journalists in Pakistan," CPJ's Sheryl Mendez and I tried to measure what seems to be a rising number of threats aimed at journalists in Pakistan. We wrote about how the problem is rapidly growing as Pakistan's security situation worsens...

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Quantifying the threat to journalists in Pakistan

August 5, 2011 3:32 PM ET

For many journalists working in Pakistan, death threats and menacing messages are simply seen as part of their job. But since December 2010, CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program (JA) has processed requests for help from 16 journalists in Pakistan who are dealing with threats. Others have told us of threats...

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More safety guidelines for Pakistan's field reporters

August 1, 2011 4:40 PM ET

Pakistan's journalists, watching the domestic stories they are covering become increasingly more dangerous, have started taking safety matters into their own hands. Zaffar Abbas, editor at the English-language daily Dawn, just forwarded to me a safety guide for journalists he has been circulating around his paper. His explanation:...

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For safety's sake: New journalist safety rules in Pakistan

July 11, 2011 3:21 PM ET

I got an early version of the Khyber Union of Journalists' (KhUJ) list of safety rules and tips for field reports around June 16, after the June 11 double bomb in a crowded market that killed two journalists in Peshawar. Yousaf Ali, KhUJ's general secretary had forwarded the list....

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Karachi might be more dangerous for media than FATA

July 8, 2011 4:33 PM ET

Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub, is one of the country's main media centers, with more than 2,000 journalists and the head offices of leading media organizations. Journalists in the city have come under attack before, with seven journalists killed there since 1994. But the situation was never as dangerous as...

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A legal attack accompanies assault on Pakistani journalists

June 24, 2011 4:26 PM ET

Concerned that so many Pakistani journalists have been threatened, abducted, killed, or beaten recently? So are they. When I was in Karachi and Islamabad in late April and early May, I found that they are starting to take steps to protect themselves with increased safety training and protective gear at...

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CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

June 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the...

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Having captured killing on tape, cameraman fears for his life

June 16, 2011 11:22 AM ET

Abdul Salam Somroo is in danger. He is the Awaz TV cameraman who took the June 9 video footage of the pointblank murder of a young man, Sarfaraz Shah, in southern Karachi. That's the same part of the city where militants beheaded American Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in...

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November 23 becomes International Day to End Impunity

June 10, 2011 2:59 PM ET

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,...

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Slain journalists' families in Pakistan mourn for lifetime

June 9, 2011 4:57 PM ET

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...

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How can Pakistani journalists protect themselves?

June 8, 2011 4:10 PM ET

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...

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

June 3, 2011 5:32 PM ET

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...

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Rising anger amid accusations about who killed Shahzad

June 2, 2011 10:47 AM ET

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...

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A friend remembers Saleem Shahzad

May 31, 2011 3:27 PM ET

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...

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Sethi: Pakistani media challenging military

May 23, 2011 12:38 PM ET

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...

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After bin Laden, a warning to foreign journalists

May 20, 2011 1:44 PM ET

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. ...

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Mission Journal: CPJ tackles impunity in Pakistan

May 6, 2011 1:46 PM ET

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...

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Umar Cheema: 'Their efforts to intimidate me backfired'

April 20, 2011 6:05 PM ET

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...

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Agreed: Pakistan is deadliest country for journalists

April 5, 2011 12:14 PM ET

Just a quick pointer. Zohra Yusuf's column in The Express Tribune, "A dangerous country for journalists," deserves a link from CPJ. Yusuf is a former vice chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. From the piece: ...

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Updates on Wali Khan Babar and Umar Cheema in Pakistan

March 1, 2011 12:28 PM ET

Here are two quick updates on prominent Pakistani cases we've been following: Despite police claims made soon after the assassination-style killing of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar on January 13, there have been no arrests made in his case, and there is little reason to expect that there will...

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Documenting sexual violence against journalists

February 16, 2011 3:46 PM ET

The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our...

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At Attacks launch: What if governments are perpetrators?

February 15, 2011 4:50 PM ET

When we launched the new edition of Attacks on the Press at the United Nations today, I was hit with questions about Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Both dealt with what amounts to the same problem: What do you do when you're asking a government to investigate a crime in...

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Flawed, but important: The Danny Pearl case revisited

January 20, 2011 10:56 AM ET

It's good to see that not everyone has forgotten about the Danny Pearl case. The Pearl Project, a three-year investigation carried out by a team of American journalists and students at Georgetown University says that the Pakistani government's conviction of the four men it claimed beheaded Pearl sometime in...

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In Pakistan, anti-press attacks spread beyond border

January 18, 2011 2:21 PM ET

The death of a journalist in Karachi last week shows that violence in Pakistan is occurring well beyond the border areas with Afghanistan. On Thursday evening, Pakistani television reporter Wali Khan Babar was executed shortly after airing a report on gang violence in the city. ...

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