33 journalists killed in Pak in past six years

Islamabad: At least 33 journalists were murdered for their work in Pakistan during the past six years, including seven in the past one year (November 2018 to October 2019) alone, according to a new report.

The Freedom Network’s new report titled ‘100% Impunity for Killers, 0% Justice for Pakistan’s Murdered Journalists: Crime and Punishment in Pakistan’s Journalism World’ issued a ‘Pakistan Impunity Scorecard’ which revealed the statistics, Dawn news reported on Friday.

The report was released ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists observed by the UN on November 2 every year.

According to the Pakistan Impunity Scorecard, a total of 32 FIRs were registered for the murder of 33 journalists during the period 2013-19, of which police could file chargesheet in only 20 cases – or in 60 per cent of cases.

Out of 33 cases, the courts declared only 20 cases fit for trial (60 per cent) of which prosecution and trial was completed in only six cases – only 18 per cent.

In these six cases, the killer was convicted in just one case but escaped punishment after successfully overturning the conviction at the appeal stage after which the family of the murdered journalist abandoned its pursuit for justice for lack of resources.

The above statistics include the cases of seven journalists murdered in Pakistan in the past one year (between November 2018 and October 2019). According to the report, FIRs were registered in all seven cases, but chargesheet was filed by the police in only four cases (57 per cent).

According to the Vienna-based IPI’s Death Watch, as many as 40 journalists lost their lives over the last year, Dawn news reported.

Of these, 25 were killed in targeted attacks in retaliation for their work, while eight journalists died while covering conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen and one was killed covering civil unrest.

Six journalists died while on assignment; two in Somalia and one each in Brazil, Turkey, the UK and the US. The majority of targeted killings took place in the Americas, where 18 journalists were killed.