WASHINGTON: An international index for press freedom places Pakistan among the most dangerous countries for journalists – along with the Philippines and Bangladesh – as the world observed on Thursday the “Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.”

The 2017 World Press Freedom Index, prepared by an international media advocacy group – Reporters Without Borders – ranked Pakistan 139th out of 180 countries survey for the report. In 2016, Pakistan was 146th.

India is 136th in the 2017 report.

Although the two South Asian countries have more press freedom than many other nations, targeted killing by terrorists, religious gangs and mafia make them dangerous for journalists.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has listed 60 journalists who have been killed in Pakistan since 1994, although it did not place Pakistan among the most dangerous countries this year.

Iraq tops this 9-member list, followed by Syria and Mexico. Afghanistan is number 7.

Reporters Without Borders, which is better known by its French acronym RSF, cites the Asia-Pacific region as the third worst violator overall.

“Two of its countries, China (176th) and Vietnam (175th), are the world’s biggest prisons for journalists and bloggers. It has some of the most dangerous countries for journalists: Pakistan (139th), Philippines (127th) and Bangladesh (146th),” says the report.

“It also has the biggest number of “press freedom predators” at the head of the world’s worst dictatorships, including China, North Korea (180th), and Laos (170th), which are news and information black holes,” RSF adds.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2017

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