JOURNALISM is a profession full of challenges, and choosing it as a career means one has to be really ready to face occupational hazards and threats regularly. Reporting an issue in society is not a crime and this is the duty of every citizen. But when journalists report something, especially wrongdoings of some powerful elements in society, they often make enemies more than friends.

Feudal lords and white-collar criminals become a threat to them. If a journalist is reporting an issue related to a school, the owners of the school by using their wealth try to suppress it. If a crime or malpractice of a politician is reported, there are repercussions aplenty.

A journalist from Kumb city in Khairpur Mirs district was shot dead earlier this year. A local police officer was accused along with three other suspects in the case. The suspects were arrested, but the officer was not. Interestingly, the cause of murder is still unknown.

This is what happens regularly in many areas and justice is not provided to the victims’ families. We have also seen some veteran journalists being attacked in the past.

Journalists strive to point out the ills of society and this is what their job entails. There is nothing wrong with that, but in our country, politicians and moneyed people feel insecure whenever they are questioned and held accountable because they are fearful of a probe into their wrongdoings.

No one quite knows what led to the killing of Arshad Sharif in Kenya, but there is enough floating in the air to have the matter investigated thoroughly. It is good to know that the government has already formed a team to investigate the matter.

Having said that, such inquiries are reserved for only the well-known names. Journalists doing their professional assignments in the more lethal and dangerous environment of rural Pakistan face threats as a matter of routine, but hardly anybody comes to their rescue or help. Even their deaths go unnoticed just because they don’t happen to be famous.

Providing protection to its citizens is the duty of the state. That being so, the security of all journalists must be ensured, or there may not be anyone left to project the voice of the oppressed and the victimised.

Sarang Latif
Karachi

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2022

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