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KARACHI (PPI): Two journalists, Murtaza Razvi and Mukaram Khan, have been killed in the line of duty in Pakistan during the first four months of 2012, while four journalists received life threats, said ‘Pakistan Press Freedom Report 2012’ issued by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, here on Wednesday.
The report said during these four months a TV channel’s office attacked, newspaper copies of same media group torched and transmission of Urdu language News TV channels blocked, and 4 CDs shops were set ablaze,. Also government of Pakistan sent the request for blocking the internet sites but the request was rejected by the local court of Pakistan.
At the end of 2011, Pakistan, was named “the deadliest country for journalists,” recorded six deaths in 2011 where the motive was known. Its impunity rating worsened for the fourth straight year. Some of these cases were linked to the government.
Pakistani journalists are under threat, and the public is paying the price. Reporters working in urban centers such as Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, and Lahore regularly receive threats, whereas the situation in Baluchistan and FATA is more critical. So many Pakistani journalists have died with hardly any of their deaths being investigated.
Early in the morning of March 20, 2012, TV channel’s office and satellite van attacked in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. Armed motorcyclists opened fire in front of the offices of the Jang Group and also damaged a satellite van belonging to Geo TV, a news channel of the same media group.
According to press reports, some supporters of a political party were behind this anti-media action. They reportedly also forced cable operators to take some channels off the air that they claim were not giving proper coverage to their party’s activities. They also threatened the cable operators and severed cable wires in different areas of Karachi.
On March 7, 2012, four shops selling music compact discs (CDs) were completely destroyed in an explosion in Takhtbhai, a district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province.
In February, the government put out requests for proposals for a massive, centralized, Internet censorship system. Explaining that “ISPs and backbone providers have expressed their inability to block millions of undesirable web sites using current manual blocking systems,” the state-run National Information Communications Technology Research and Development Fund said it therefore requires “a national URL filtering and blocking system.”
However, on April 19, 2012, the Provincial Court has ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) not to block any website against the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organisation) Act, 1996. The court also issued notices to the federation, through the Ministry of Information Technology and telecommunication secretary and the PTA, through its chairman.
On February 21, 2012, armed men snatched copies of the daily “The Express Tribune” and set them on fire. The incident occurred in the newspaper market in Quetta, the capital city of Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. The transmission of Express News, a TV channel belonging to the same media group, was also suspended for five days.
The arson was prompted by a talk show aired by Express News in which two politicians debated the topic of the murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti who had been killed in a military operation on August 26, 2006.

Originally published in The Frontier Post.

 

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