21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers

…is the theme of 2011’s edition of World Press Freedom Day, on May 03 which will once again mark the Windhoek Declaration for promoting free and pluralistic media. Media & Communication analysts believe that the role of internet, new media and social networking sites may become a vital tool for journalists living in countries prone to frequent chaos and conflict.

Death toll shows Pakistan as new hotspot

Pakistan has become the world’s most dangerous country for the press. Journalists remain most vulnerable to Pakistan’s internal conflict, repression and violence. Leading journalist protection agencies have quoted Pakistan as one of the deadliest countries for journalists, despite a significant drop in fatalities from 72 in 2009 to 48; Pakistan has lost almost 12 journalists this year alone from a previous 8.

(figures vary on Reporters Sans Frontieres and Committee Protect to Journalists)

On the Press Freedom Index 2010, Pakistan scored an alarming 56.17 points and was ranked 151 out of 178 nations; Eritrea was last with 105 points. Much of the blame goes to the surge in militancy for putting the country into lower ranks. This year the trends or the reasons of fatality have slightly changed, threats to journalists come more from the militant groups rather than from the Government or the military.

Suicide bombings, abductions and cross-fires are making it all the while difficult for the journalists to practice their occupation. Meanwhile, media houses in Pakistan continue to fail in providing adequate security to their staff in form of trainings, safety equipments, flak/bullet-proof jackets…

2010 : 48 journalists killed, Press Freedom Barometer 2010

Faces of the fallen from 2010 to be remember through 2011 and through many more years to come;

 

Muhammad Khan Sasoli, 36

December 15, 2010

Correspondent Royal TV and INP news agency

Khuzdar, Balochistan

Sasoli, President Khuzdar Press Club was gunned down in the city outside his residence. According to colleagues to Reporters Without Borders, Sasoli was a “serious and professional journalist”. The district is considered highly volatile due to frequent armed conflict between the security forces and baloch nationalists.

 

Pervez Khan

December 6, 2010

Correspondent Waqt TV

Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency

Khan was among 50 people killed in a twin-suicide bombing during a tribal jirga at Ghalanai’s administrative centre over the formation of an anti-taliban group. Local Taliban group took responsibility for the attack.

 

Abdul Wahab

December 6, 2010

Correspondent, Express News

Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency

Wahab was also among 50 people killed in the twin-suicide attack at the Jirga. Two terrorists wearing police uniforms carried out the attack. The meeting was between the tribal elders and government officials.

 

Misri Khan

September 14, 2010

Reporter, Ausaf and Mashriq

Hangu

Khan, reporter for two Urdu dailies published in Peshawar and President of Hangu Union of Journalists, was shot several times as he entered the press club building in Hangu. Khan had been reporting for over 20 years.

He was survived by a wife, six sons, and five daughters.

 

Ejaz Raisani

September 6, 2010

Cameraman, Samaa TV

Quetta, Balochistan

Raisani died in a military hospital of gunshot injuries he suffered three days earlier when a suicide bomber detonated explosives aimed at a Shiite demonstration, triggering gunfire that killed more than 60 people and left over a 100 injured. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the violence.

Raisani was married with two children.

 

Ejazul Haq, 42

May 28, 2010

Technician, City-42 TV

Lahore, Punjab

Haq was killed while reporting from the scene of an armed attack on Ahmadi mosque, which was in his neighbourhood, according to news accounts gathered by CJP.

Haq was survived by a wife, a daughter, and a son.

More than 80 people were killed that day in sieges that lasted for several hours.

 

Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, 40

May 9/10, 2010

Reporter, Daily Sindhu Hyderabad

Wahi Pandhi, Sindh

Birhamani’s body was found outside his hometown of Wahi Pandhi on May 10, day after he was reported abducted. According to Pakistan Press Foundation, Birhamani’s body showed evidence of physical torture. Birhamani’s family believe he was killed because of his reporting on ethnic issues in the province.

He left behind a wife, two sons, and a daughter.

 

Azamat Ali Bangash, 34

April 17, 2010

Cameraman/Correspondent, Samaa TV

Orakzai Agency

Bangash, cameraman and a correspondent for Samaa TV was among over 4o refugees killed in a suicide attack during food distribution in a refugee camp in Orakzai.  He happens to the second Samaa Journalist being killed in such a attack in within 2 days.

Bangash was survived by a wife and three children.

 

Malik Arif

April 16, 2010

Cameraman, Samaa TV

Quetta, Balochistan

Arif was killed among eight others in a suicide bombing outside the emergency ward of civil hosputal in Quetta.

 

Mohammad Sarwar

September 3, 2010

Driver, Aaj TV

Quetta, Balochistan

Sarwar died in violence which erupted right after a suicide attack at a rally in Quetta. According to local reports Sarwar was shot twice. The suicide bombing targeted a Shiite gathering, trigging gunfire and chaos; which left over 60 people dead.

 

Mehmood Chandio, 45

December 5, 2010

Bureau Chief, Awaz TV

Mirpurkhas, Sindh

Chandio was shot by unknown assailants outside is house in Mirpurkhas. Mehmood Chandio was the President for Mirpurkhas Press Club. Reports suggest, Chandio passed after being taken to the hospital. Cause of his death, according to committee to protect journalists remain unconfirmed

He was survived by his wife, mother, and six children.

 

Lala Hameed Baloch

November 18, 2010

Reporter, Daily Intikhab

Gwadar

Hameed disappeared on October 25 while on his way back home in Gwadar. His gunshot-riddled body was found on the outskirts of Turbat. Many of the local journalists believe, the security officials abducted Hameed.

Hameed was known for supporting Baloch Nationalist Movement, one of the possible motives considered for his murder.

 

According to a new RAND Corporation study that examines counter-radicalization programs, de-radicalizing extremists which challenges the “ideology” could be far more important than having them refrain from violence. But as these counter-radicalization or de-radicalization programmes continue to take shape and form in the ever-so secured locations, the fact hasn’t seemed to change much; almost seven journalists lost their lives to these terrorist attacks, three of them pitifully from the same media outlet.

The ideology may need to change in places where its least expected, programmes and research of de-radicalization that influences the belief systems may need to be conducted which may need change mind-sets, develop them in a manner that supports and encourages and invests in safety trainings of media professionals in high conflict zones; which may just mean all across Pakistan.

committed to journalism, or committed to surviving? which one first…

 

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