Roots of Impunity

About This Report

This report was written by Elizabeth Rubin, an independent journalist who has covered Pakistan and South Asia for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine. She has reported from conflict zones around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans. The Committee to Protect Journalists commissioned Rubin to conduct this independent investigation into the dangerous conditions facing members of the news media in Pakistan.

Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, wrote the introduction to this report and prepared its recommendations. The appendix of journalists killed from 2003 to 2012 is based on the research of CPJ staff over the past decade. Sumit Galhotra, CPJ Steiger fellow, contributed new reporting to the capsule reports of journalists killed. Galhotra also contributed research to several other sections.

Pakistan is the fourth-deadliest nation in the world for the press since 2003, CPJ research
shows. Although a number of journalists have died in suicide bombings or other conflict-related circumstances in the country, at least 23 have been targeted for murder. CPJ research also shows Pakistan has one of the world’s worst records of impunity in anti-press violence. Not one journalist murder over the past decade has resulted in a conviction.

This report examines the targeted killings of reporters Wali Khan Babar and Mukarram Khan Aatif, along with the roots of impunity in Pakistan. The nation’s press, while free and robust, faces extraordinary danger from militants, political groups, criminals, intelligence agents, and military and government officials. Addressing the culture of impunity in anti-press violence is central to the nation’s future.

An Urdu-language version of this report is available here.

(Photo by AP)

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