Journalists are increasingly under threat in Pakistan. Recently, prominent television journalist Hamid Mir was shot by gunmen.
Journalists are increasingly under threat in Pakistan. Recently, prominent television journalist Hamid Mir was shot by gunmen. Bullets struck Mir's intestines, leg and pelvic area. Mr. Mir has undergone a successful operation and is expected to recover.
The United States condemns the vicious attack on Mr. Mir, the latest in a series of worrisome attacks on journalists in Pakistan.
Unfortunately this is not a one-off situation. Other prominent journalists are also being targeted: including Jamshed Bhagwan. Bomb and grenade attacks over two consecutive months directed at Mr. Bhagwan did not result in injury but the harassment and intimidation were clear. A hand grenade was thrown at Bhagwan’s house in Peshawar in April, reportedly exploding with a cloud of smoke but no injury, while in March a bomb was placed outside his home, which was eventually defused by a disposal unit.
According to the State Department's most recent human rights report, during the past year in Pakistan, security forces, political parties, militants, and other groups subjected media outlets, journalists, and their families to violence and harassment. Journalists were abducted and subjected to physical attack, harassment, intimidation or other forms of pressure during the year. Media outlets that did not practice self-censorship were often the targets of retribution.
Sumit Galhotra, the Asia Program Research Associate at the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, said “Pakistan remains one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists... For years, scores of journalist murders have gone unpunished." Since 1992, more than 50 journalists have been killed with a confirmed motive in Pakistan, according to the CPJ.
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson said, "We are alarmed and deplore the increased attacks on journalists in Pakistan." These attacks he said, "should be a wake-up call to all who value democracy in this country. A free media is a key ingredient of democracy, and allows for a healthy national discussion on shaping a peaceful future for the country. Everyone must do more to defend these courageous voices against those who seek to silence them."
The U.S. urges the government of Pakistan to bring to justice all those responsible for these attacks on the media.