New Delhi: Pakistan was the "most
dangerous" country to work in as a journalist in 2010 with the
number of those killed while working for media scaling a "new
height" and "far exceeding" traditional hotspots for
journalistic activity, a report said on Tuesday.
In conflict-ridden provinces like Balochistan and
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA), media personnel, sandwiched between insurgent elements
and government security forces, find it virtually impossible
to conduct their work freely, it said.
Journalists working in Balochistan province struggle
to maintain a balance between nationalist organisations and
the paramilitary Frontier Corps, the Press Freedom Report for
South Asia 2010-11 prepared by International Federation of
Five journalists were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and
the adjoining tribal areas between April 2010-11 as a result
of suicide attacks, other terrorism related incidents and
targeted killing, the report said.
The report said the opposing forces in Pakistan`s
conflict zone along the border with Afghanistan are engaged in
an intense battle also to control media reporting on their
activities and objectives.
It noted that government authorities and security
agencies continue to fail to conduct full investigations into
the murder of journalists.
In context of the murder of Punjab Governor Salman
Taseer in Islamabad, the report said Pakistan`s journalists,
like the government, are struggling to counter fear and
growing silence on contentious issues of significant public
"Local correspondents are commonly put at risk of
retaliation from local militants or security forces when
editors based in offices in distant locations like Islamabad
or Lahore insert phrases and expressions into reports or
broadcasts which carry negative connotations for either
opposing side," it said.
It said more than 800 media employees were sacked from
various print and electronic media organisations during
On India, the report said that the four-month long
summer unrest in Kashmir Valley last year left media
professionals "deeply bruised" even as news gathering
processes were "severely" impeded by restrictions on movement.
Accessing news sites became an ordeal and gaining
authentic information on the disturbances that were then
breaking out with alarming regularity, a virtual
impossibility, it said.
On the `paid news` phenomenon, the report pointed out
that diminution of subscriptions as a revenue source has
resulted in the devaluation of information and growing
pressure placed by advertising departments on journalism.
The report also mentioned the Radia tapes, which
involved tapped telephone conversation between an industry
lobbyist and a number of influential media professionals.