Pakistan / 2012

CPJ Blog

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Journalists still murdered where impunity reigns

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the...

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Pakistanis address violence on Pakistani journalists

December 10, 2012 12:15 PM ET

There is an absolutely terrific seven-part special report by The News on Sunday on Pakistan's problem with the killing of journalists and the impunity surrounding their deaths. It's written by and for Pakistanis, with compelling direction from Adnan Rehmat of Intermedia Pakistan--and not only describes and analyzes the problem, but...

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Speak Justice campaign fights impunity in press murders

December 6, 2012 6:15 AM ET

The tortured and decapitated body of 39-year-old María Elizabeth Macías Castro was found on a Saturday evening in September 2011. It had been dumped by the side of a road in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town ravaged by the war on drugs. Macías, a freelance journalist, wrote about...

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In Karachi, a trail of death and impunity in Babar case

November 16, 2012 6:41 PM ET

Haider Ali, an eyewitness to the 2011 murder of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar, was gunned down on Sunday, two days before he was set to testify in the trial of five suspects. The murder sent shockwaves across Pakistan--one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists...

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Will UN plan address impunity, security for journalists?

November 13, 2012 1:31 PM ET

Here are the facts:A journalist is killed in the line of duty somewhere around the world once every eight days.Nearly three out of four are targeted for murder. The rest are killed in the crossfire of combat, or on dangerous assignments such as street protests.Local journalists constitute the large...

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Baluchistan latest epicenter of attacks on Pakistani press

October 25, 2012 4:43 PM ET

It is one step forward and two steps back in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province. The nation's highest court has acknowledged the dangerous climate journalists face in Baluchistan, but it has also affirmed a directive that only adds to the pressure cooker conditions that journalists work under....

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After Malala shooting, Taliban goes after media critics

October 17, 2012 5:36 PM ET

Journalists, like many others in Pakistan, have spoken out strongly since the Taliban attempted to kill the teenage Malala Yousafzai on October 9. The Taliban, in return, are threatening the media over their coverage, according to journalists and news reports....

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In Pakistan, a murderous exercise in democracy

October 9, 2012 3:10 PM ET

Covering political rallies in Pakistan must be considered a dangerous assignment. One journalist was killed and three others injured on Sunday when gunmen opened fire on a Pakistan People's Party (PPP) rally in Khairpur in Sindh province. All told, at least six died and 10 were wounded critically....

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Is Pakistan's Ansar Abbasi being banned?

August 22, 2012 9:54 AM ET

Ansar Abbasi, editor of investigations for Pakistan's leading media group Jang, is apparently facing a de facto ban from his own employers. Other TV channels also report being told not to air his views. Abbasi has charged cable operators with spreading immoral, anti-Islamic messages through Indian movies and other popular...

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Election corruption grave threat to Pakistan's media

August 8, 2012 3:18 PM ET

"Elections will not be fought, but will be bought," is a saying being used by political tacticians in Pakistan. Hope for the legitimacy of the country's first fair transfer of power between two civilian governments with the oversight of unbiased media is disappearing quickly. Billions of rupees are pouring into...

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Can Pakistan's corrupt media be checked?

June 29, 2012 3:02 PM ET

With ratings driving the profits of media channels, journalists and political talk show hosts are being motivated to stir up controversy at any cost. Meanwhile, the professionals who believe in credibility, objectivity, and honesty as essential parts of ethical journalism are becoming sidelined....

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Brazil restates commitment to press freedom, UN plan

June 13, 2012 12:58 PM ET

CPJ has received an encouraging letter from Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's permanent representative to the United Nations, affirming the country's support for the UNESCO-led U.N. Plan of Action for Security of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. ...

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In Pakistan, UN human rights chief meets with Jahangir

June 7, 2012 1:43 PM ET

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in opening remarks at her press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, addressed a wide range of problems in Pakistan, including those faced by journalists. (The full statement is on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.) What...

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EU, UN officials in Pakistan must make time for Jahangir

June 5, 2012 12:47 PM ET

There is no better time than now for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton to step out of their tightly planned schedule of meetings in Pakistan and make a trip to the home of human rights activist Asma Jahangir....

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Rising violence in Pakistan's warring Baluchistan

May 30, 2012 2:26 PM ET

The murder of a part-time journalist and a gunfire attack on the house of the president of the Turbat Press Club, both on May 28, underscore the nature of the escalating violence in Baluchistan. According to the Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, which monitors violence across South Asia, at least...

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One year later: Saleem Shahzad's case is buried

May 29, 2012 3:01 PM ET

On May 21 this year, a military court convicted three Pakistani naval officers of negligence and dereliction of duty for their actions during an attack on the main naval airbase in the heart of Karachi on May 22, 2011. After the incident had ended, the military said 10 security...

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Even by Pakistani standards, a terrible month for press

May 24, 2012 4:02 PM ET

May has been a terrible month for journalists in Pakistan, a country that has ranked as the world's deadliest place for the press for two consecutive years. Two journalists have been killed, two more shot and wounded, and one attacked while in police custody, all in less than a month,...

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No joke: Moves to squelch Pakistani media, again

May 23, 2012 12:07 PM ET

With general elections approaching, the landscape is again bearing eerie resemblance to the final days of General Pervez Musharraf's reign. In November 2007 he banned selected TV channels for 88 days to stifle what he saw as "irresponsible journalism." Now, Pakistani electronic media might be chained again, this time...

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In UK talks, some practical solutions for Pakistani press

May 8, 2012 2:36 PM ET

Amid political tumult in Islamabad, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and a team of six ministers are in London for far-ranging meetings today through May 13. The Pakistan-U.K. Enhanced Strategic Dialogue will review education, health, defense, security, and cultural cooperation. CPJ has written a letter to Prime Minister...

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Another Pakistan attack, this one online

April 20, 2012 4:00 PM ET

The Friday Times in Lahore has come under cyberattack. Earlier Friday, its website could not be accessed. Najam Sethi, the paper's editor, told CPJ that someone has "launched an attack on the websites of both The Friday Times and Vanguard Books [the book publishing and distribution company that owns the...

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Murtaza Razvi, and what should come next

April 20, 2012 12:12 PM ET

The ceremony for Murtaza Razvi was held in Karachi Friday. Even as more details of the killing of one of the Dawn Media Group's most senior journalists emerge, it's difficult to discern a motive. Several Pakistani media quoted an anonymous police official as saying, "We are investigating into the...

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Pakistani court says website blocking violates constitution

April 19, 2012 11:13 AM ET

When CPJ covered the Pakistani government's attempt to build a massive censorship system for the country's Internet in February, we noted a key problem with such huge blocking systems: they are, at heart, democratically unaccountable....

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Brazil, Pakistan, India fail test on journalist murders

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Brazil, Pakistan, and India--three nations with high numbers of unsolved journalist murders--failed an important test last month in fighting the scourge of impunity. Delegates from the three countries took the lead in raising objections to a U.N. plan that would strengthen international efforts to combat deadly anti-press violence....

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Pakistan's response to UNESCO shows true colors

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM ET

In case there was any doubt about the stance of Pakistani authorities on the murder of journalists, UNESCO's 28th biennial session offered an instructive insight. In addition to discussing the U.N. Draft Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity during the meeting, held...

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With impunity, more danger ahead for Pakistani press

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Pakistani journalists are under threat, and the public is paying the price. The most recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan includes a detailed chapter on freedom of expression, which ties growing suppression to rising incidence of violence and threats against news media. Not coincidentally, Pakistan sits...

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A Pakistani 'sword of Damocles' in the making?

April 2, 2012 4:45 PM ET

Given that it is usually punishable by death, "treason" is a dangerous word to bandy about. When it is applied to journalists, it is even more worrisome. We've seen that in Sri Lanka, which is in the throes of a backlash against a U.N. resolution on past human rights abuses....

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Ahmed Rashid on U.S. policy in South Asia

March 22, 2012 10:00 AM ET

At Columbia University on Monday evening, CPJ board member Ahmed Rashid held forth to a full house in a conversation with Steve Coll about U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you're reading this blog, there's most likely no need to explain who Rashid is--or Coll, for that matter....

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Pakistan's excessive Internet censorship plans

March 1, 2012 5:35 PM ET

Last month, Pakistan's government put out requests for proposals for a massive, centralized, Internet censorship system. Explaining that "ISPs and backbone providers have expressed their inability to block millions of undesirable web sites using current manual blocking systems," the state-run National Information Communications Technology Research and Development Fund said...

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Threats and menace: Pakistan's war on words

February 21, 2012 11:40 PM ET

In Pakistan, the term "a war of words" can take on a menacing dimension beyond the metaphorical. Words--written, spoken, or reported--regularly land journalists in trouble, a very literal, physical sort of trouble. Reporters have become accustomed to being threatened, and over the years they've seen threats sometimes build to...

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Threats to Pakistani journalists don't let up

February 14, 2012 5:05 PM ET

In the last few days, messages from two journalists in Pakistan have made me realize that I can't turn away from publicizing the threats they are facing, because they just keep coming. ...

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Pakistan's Abbas: Journalists hostage to 'power of gun'

February 7, 2012 1:42 PM ET

CPJ award winner Mazhar Abbas penned a strong Sunday op-ed piece, "Death is the only news--Challenges of working in conflict zones," for The News. It's about conditions for journalists working in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Baluchistan. As Abbas says, "The killing of one journalist is a...

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Mazhar Abbas: Shahzad was no Pearl

January 24, 2012 2:22 PM ET

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in Karachi on January 23, 2002. On February 21 of that year, a video of his beheading was released. In the wake of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, veteran...

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Mukarram Khan Aatif, a fearless reporter and friend

January 19, 2012 1:16 PM ET

It was in January four years ago that nearly 100 journalists from all over Pakistan got together to launch a new TV channel in Lahore, Dunya TV. That was where I first met Mukarram Khan Aatif, our reporter from Mohmand....

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A deeper reading: Umar Cheema on the Shahzad report

January 18, 2012 3:47 PM ET

With the shooting of Mukarram Khan Aatif on Tuesday, the once high-profile case of Saleem Shahzad has almost been overtaken by events. The day before Aatif's death, Umar Cheema had sent me a link to his analysis of the judicial inquiry into the killing of Saleem Shahzad....

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One year on: Remembering Wali Khan Babar

January 13, 2012 1:12 PM ET

Today is the first anniversary of the killing of Geo TV broadcast reporter Wali Khan Babar in Karachi, a case that has almost been forgotten, particularly in the shadow of the release of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The report on Shahzad has been...

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No culprits named in Shahzad investigation, media reports

January 11, 2012 2:02 PM ET

About six months after it was launched, the commission investigating the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad submitted its report to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday. In the past, the government has not released results of such investigations into the deaths of journalists, but there might be an exception...

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The HRCP's call to address threats against journalists

January 10, 2012 2:23 PM ET

A quick pointer to a statement issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Monday: It said, in part, that "The HRCP is alarmed at reports of threats received by journalists on account of their work." The commission asked the government to ensure that threats to journalists end and...

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