Media advocacy groups seek safety for Pak journalists
The calls came barely two days after two journalists were gunned down in the port city of Karachi and a third wounded in a gun attack in northwestern Peshawar.
While condemning the attacks, the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists said: “We are alarmed by the violence against journalists and media workers in Pakistan after three separate attacks in 24 hours.”
Benjamin Ismaïl, in charge of the Asia-Pacific desk of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, said: “Two dead and two wounded in two days -- this grim toll will send yet another intimidatory message to the Pakistani media.”
Reporters Without Borders also expressed concern at the restrictive nature of a new code of conduct for the electronic media drafted by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
The measure took effect on Aug 20. “The code is clearly designed to increase censorship of radio and TV programmes, which are already subject to close control,” the group noted.
Aged 42, Aftab Alam was shot dead in his car near his home after taking children to school. He was pronounced dead after being rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. In the past he had worked for Geo TV, Samaa TV and other media outlets.
Earlier, gunmen opened fire on a Geo TV van in Karachi, killing Arshad Ali Jaffari, a 45-year-old satellite broadcast engineer who had worked for years for the channel. The three gunmen fled on a motorcycle.
In Peshawar, Abdul Azam Shinwari, a reporter with Pakistan Television, sustained three gunshot injuries to the leg. He had recently moved to Peshawar from Landikotal, his hometown near the Afghan border, for security reasons.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and we call on the authorities to deploy all available resources so that those responsible for these appalling acts of violence are brought to justice,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Pakistan is ranked 159th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.