Thursday, January 6, 2011

Journalists at high risk

01-05-2011 16:27
Journalists at high risk

Dear editor,

Journalists are paying a high price to expose the truth and working against the wishes of their rulers and also working against the wishes of hardcore militant groups especially in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to reports over the last decade, Pakistan, Iraq and Mexico have been the most violent countries for reporters.

According to the media rights group Reporters Without Border 57 Journalist lost their lives in the year 2010 while performing their duties. Two French journalists are still in militants’ custody in Afghanistan. Several journalists are also still working under constant death threats in Latin American countries such as Columbia and Mexico where a long war is going on between different drug cartels.

But the most dangerous country for journalists last year was Pakistan where 11 journalists were killed. Most of the journalists were killed while covering U.S.-led war on terror in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Journalists working on the frontline in Pakistan are at high risk of losing their lives. Most of them are covering big political gatherings with a high risk of suicide attacks. Journalists are pressurized from both sides ― the militants and security agencies ― that want to present their own point of view in print and electronic media.

Recently famous journalist Umer Chima was abducted from the heart of capital Islamabad and tortured by some agencies and released after several days. After corruption stories and fake degree scandals which involved several key government personalities, the administration wants to corral the media and journalists through draconian laws.

The government also tried to close several TV channels and ban several popular anchors who want to expose government corruption stories in the media. Several militant groups also issued their guidelines to media, targeting journalists and their organizations.

Khawaja Umer Farooq

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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