ISLAMABAD – The South Asian Free Media Association and the Media Commission – Pakistan (MC-P) on Wednesday condemned the killing of a local television journalist in a mosque in northwest Pakistan.

Mukarram Khan Atif worked for Dunya TV and contributed stories to the Voice of America.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing in Shabqadar, a small town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The friends and family of the deceased said that death threats from Taliban militants had forced the slain reporter and his family to abandon their hometown and move to Shabqadar.
In a joint statement, SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and MC-P President M Ziauddin condemned the killing as an act of terrorism. The regional and national media watchdog heads called for a probe into the incident.

“The government must investigate and find the culprits and also compensate the family,” they said. “Pakistan’s ongoing war against extremists has exposed the entire society to revengeful terrorist attacks and we fear more killings in Pakistan.
The journalists are now leaving the country under threats from all kinds of actors, especially the extremists,” they said.

“The failure of the Pakistani authorities to bring elements involved in such attacks to justice has emboldened those fearful of increasingly independent media,” they said.

The killing of 12 journalists in Pakistan has marked the heaviest loss in a single nation in the world, topping the tally of 17 for the region, followed by India with three and Afghanistan with two deaths, according to the South Asian Media Commission’s annual report for 2011.

Originally published here.

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