Karachi—A report released by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has documented the alarming situation that those who attack, injure or even murder journalists in Pakistan are rarely held accountable and remain free.
The report titled “Justice Delayed AND Justice Denied” to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Media that falls on November 2, has documented 47 cases of media personnel being targeted and murdered and another 25 killed since 2002 while pursuing their duties. In addition, 185 media personnel were injured, 88 assaulted, 22 abducted and 42 were detained during this same period. In 2016, two cameramen were killed in a suicide bombing while covering the protest of lawyers at Civil Hospital in Quetta, Balochistan province.
In addition, sixteen media practitioners were injured while covering events for their media organizations, and one media executive was abducted in Peshawar.
The report also expressed concern that that murder of journalist Shan Dahar has not been re-investigated despite the passage of over six months since the Inspector General of Sindh Police ordered the reopening of the case.
In Pakistan journalists are murdered, killed, detained, abducted, harassed and threatened by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, militants, tribal elders and feudal lords, and even political and religious parties that claim to promote democracy and the rule of law. Media houses and media persons are not only being targeted but threatened, pressurized, intimidated and harassed by the state and non-state elements.
Of the 72 cases of killing of media practitioners since 2002, there have been convictions in only five cases. The report states that lack of interest by the federal and provincial governments as well as employers in pursuing legal cases of violence against journalists is the main reason to the unacceptably high level of impunity. The cases languish in courts for years before they are closed for non-prosecution.