Journalists in danger

Published January 5, 2010

This is apropos of your news report “10 journalists killed in line of duty” and the editorial “Media under stress”, (Dec 31). I cite from your editorial, “According to the South Asia Media Commissions' seventh report, 12 journalists were killed in 2009 in South Asia, more than half the number, i.e. seven in Pakistan alone”.

According to the intermedia report for 2009, 10 journalists were killed in 2009 alone, 45 were killed in the past half decade and 70 journalists injured this year.

It is really appalling to notice that those who bring news to our drawing rooms are in such colossal danger. Indeed, it is regretted as stated in the editorial, “Why have journalists not received protection from the law-enforcement agencies and their own employers in the form of protective gear and training as they go about their often dangerous duties?”

It is incumbent upon the government to guarantee the safety of journalists by providing adequate security to them.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) is equally responsible, so are the news agencies for whom journalists work. It is also their duty to take ample security measures for the protection of all journalists.

Reporting on an individual basis without any security personnel in war-torn zones should be prohibited, as it has been the main reason for the killing and kidnapping of journalists. If needed, a licensed weapon should be given to those reporters who report from war-torn areas. Bullet-proof jackets and helmets would further strengthen their safety.

Funds for all martyred and crippled journalists should be announced so that their families may not suffer financially.

These funds should be made possible under the supervision of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority with the collaboration of PFUJ.

SADDAM HUSSAIN
Karachi

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