IF certain sections of the media were still attempting to justify the TTP’s agenda or divert attention from it, the attempt on television anchor Hamid Mir’s life should leave no journalist or media outlet with any excuse to continue serving as apologists for the Pakistani Taliban. The TTP’s claim that it was behind the attack is not solid proof, but in the absence of any denials from the group, one can only take it at face value. And so it appears the Taliban have reached new levels of boldness when it comes to targeting the media. Going beyond just sending personal threats, which they have done with other journalists in the past, this time they have publicly announced that a particular journalist is a target — and that they plan to continue targeting him. The same unrepentant message of defiance came through recently when the TTP claimed the attack on Malala Yousufzai and some sectarian attacks: they have said they will continue trying to kill the young girl and Shias.

In the case of the media in particular, the Pakistani Taliban’s antagonism is alarming because it underscores that they cannot stomach any criticism. Simply speaking out against them is a crime in their eyes, one for which the only punishment is death. As such, they stand against everything that Pakistan’s hard-won media freedom represents. On a practical level, intelligence agencies must ensure that journalists are made aware of any threats to their lives; while the odd interior ministry notification is issued from time to time, there are instances of direct threats not having been communicated to the journalists they are made against. But more importantly, recent events should serve as a red flag for journalists — and politicians — who support, defend or excuse the TTP’s actions that they do so at the cost of their own freedom of expression.

Updated Nov 29, 2012 12:00am

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Comments (6) (Closed)


Beg
Nov 29, 2012 09:42pm
Do the editor have any solid proof (which can stand in a court)that bomb attempt on hamid mir was from taliban when hamid himself is not sure and has given statement that state agencies may be behind this.This is in vogue now to write in papers without solid proof and what ever happen blame it on taliban same as every thing occurring in pakistan is due to American conspiracy. So be a literate you are writing in dawn
baakhlaq
Nov 29, 2012 05:20pm
No extremest organization can tolerate freedom of expression, rather freedom of expression and extremism can't go together.Targeting the media persons is comparatively easy for them and with little effort they can suppress the voices against them. Presently, free and independent media is the only hope of the masses against extremism so there should be no soft corner for extremists.
Faizullah Khalil
Nov 29, 2012 05:20pm
May be some in Taliban and some in the intelligence agencies are hand in hand with each other to teach lessons to all those they think should become a their target for raising voice against certain issues,policies and actions in the country. The bottom line is whoever, Taliban or Intelligence agencies" are doing these feineous crimes are causing fear and insecurity to the people of pakistan thus weakening the foundation of Pakistan
dhk
Nov 29, 2012 02:18pm
interesting, i didn't see any name signed below, i can't blame the writer though :)
Agha Ata
Nov 29, 2012 01:34pm
I get two different impressions from the Army's, government's and TTP's attitude. Either Government and the army are preparing for a very big action against the TTP in remote future or all three are conspiring against the nation; thinking that after the nation is destroyed all three would live happily thereafter!
AHA
Nov 29, 2012 01:07pm
Freedom of expression is the biggest threat to extremist ideologies. Outfits like Taliban can only survive in an environment where people do not get the right information.