ISLAMABAD, Oct 30: As the United Nations Human Rights Council prepared for its periodic review of the human rights situation in Pakistan in Geneva, the Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday expressed alarm over growing threats to lives and safety of journalists in several parts of the country.
The France-based Free Press Organisation, which has official consultative status with the United Nations, had recommended as recently as April a series of measures designed to protect journalists in Pakistan.
“A mere six months after our recommendations, media workers face even greater danger,” the RWB said on the eve of the universal periodic review scheduled for release this week.
“The number of journalists killed continues to increase, and most of the investigations opened into these murders remain inconclusive, contributing to an intolerable level of impunity.”
The fourteenth session of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group is currently holding its session in Geneva until Nov 5.
Fourteen countries, including Pakistan, will have their human rights records examined under the mechanism.
Eight journalists have been murdered in Pakistan this year.
“In light of the unacceptable mortal dangers that journalists face in Pakistan, the Reporters Without Borders reiterates its April recommendations that authorities must urgently take steps to guarantee safety of all journalists as soon as they are threatened,” the RWB said.
Protection measures to which Pakistan committed itself in the 2008 universal periodic review must be put into effect immediately, the statement added.
These included investigating and prosecuting crimes against journalists.
“All attempts to limit press freedom on the internet must be abandoned.”
In 2011, for the second year in a row, Pakistan was the most deadly country in the world for journalists. It was ranked 151st out of 179 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, compiled by the Reporters Without Borders.