Another courageous casualty in Pakistan, journalism's most dangerous country

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Blackwater, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Murtaza Razvi, an editor at one of Pakistan's leading English newspapers, was murdered in Karachi yesterday. He was one of many journalists I met on a recent trip who have refused to give up their work despite threats.



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    By Jenna Fisher, Asia editor / April 20, 2012


    Murtaza Rizvi in a meeting with US journalists at Dawn offices in Karachi, Pakistan.

    Courtesy of Ann Hartman/East-West Center

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    BOSTON
    Two weeks ago I was in an office in Karachi, Pakistan, with a room full of journalists, including Murtaza Razvi, an editor at Dawn newspaper, discussing challenges facing the country’s vibrant media, including risks to covering Pakistan. Yesterday I was e-mailed that he had been murdered


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    Before I left for Pakistan a few weeks ago on a journalist exchange program sponsored by the East-West Center, I asked colleagues who reported in the country, both Pakistani and American, about their greatest challenge.

    Americans complained of the government's game of “smoke and mirrors,” a disinformation campaign that puts most other government propaganda efforts to shame. The challenge for Pakistani journalists, on the other hand, was decidedly more severe. “We have a completely free media in Pakistan, but no protection,” said one journalist based in Islamabad.

    How severe? The country leads the world in journalist murders, the latest just yesterday.

    RELATED: The five most dangerous countries for journalists

    Seven of the other eight Pakistani journalists at a meeting with my group proceeded to share stories of threats. It was common, they said, to receive a threat by a phone call from the Taliban for not getting enough quotes from them, from political parties for including the Taliban in a story or not being represented the way they saw fit, and even from Pakistan’s version of the CIA, the ISI.

    But this wasn’t something that had them lining up to find a new job. It was just how things work. Most of the time the person on the other end of the line is bluffing, they said. They had gotten used to the fact that Pakistan was the deadliest country for journalists in 2010 and 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. And killings there have been met with near-perfect impunity throughout the years. For some perspective, consider that there have been 19 unsolved murders of journalists since 2002. (see CPJ’s video)

    When you put it that way, having to peer through smoke and mirrors to get to the heart of a story doesn't look so bad.

    I visited the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting while I was in Pakistan. The ministry has jurisdiction over the rules and regulations relating to information, broadcasting, and the press. Like many Pakistanis we spoke to on this trip, the minister talked at length about how wonderful it was to have an active, independent, vibrant media that had absolutely no restrictions and how that was contributing to democracy in Pakistan.

    However, when we raised the question of safety and reported threats against journalist, Minister of Information Firdous Ashiq Awan (since replaced), without asking for details or pausing to smooth this over, said: “Those are complete fabrications. It never happened. It’s not happening.”

    We brought up the famous case of Syad Saleem Shazad, a prominent journalist who went missing after exposing Al Qaeda infiltration of the military. He had been “warned” several times by the ISI for covering sensitive topics, according to his family. He was later found dead. The ISI, was implicated, though it denied involvement.

    The minister dismissed the scenario of Shazad's murder as unproven. She did clarify that, "we condemn that sort of action." But she stuck with her statement that there were no threats or real dangers for journalists who were not "over smart." A former local journalist who now works in the ministry agreed with her.

    At this point, Issam Ahmed, the Monitor’s Islamabad correspondent, who had been invited to the round table by the minister, shared a story about a time he had been reporting on a sensitive topic in northern Pakistan, when he was summoned into a car by agents to go meet with the ISI bureau chief. The car sped off at breakneck speed to the headquarters, where the chief warned him to “not report critically.” So, Issam, said, it wasn't a death threat, but intimidation happens.

    Another courageous casualty in Pakistan, journalism's most dangerous country - CSMonitor.com
     
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  3. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

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    Lie Lie Lie, and osama was never in pakistan :taunt:
     

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