Pak `most dangerous` country to work in as a journalist: Report
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 15:37
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 Journalists said.

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 concern.

"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 2010-11.

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.


First Published: Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 15:37

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