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Apathy to journalist killings criticised

Thursday 15 Dec 2011
Senior journalist and anchor Mazhar Abbas said on Wednesday that 80 journalists had been killed in Pakistan after 9/11, but the government paid no heed to this, The News reported.

Mazhar Abbas

“It’s unfortunate that not only the government pays no heed to attacks and killings of journalists, but the organisations they work for also look the other way,” he lamented, speaking at a roundtable.
The “Attacks on Journalists and Media Freedom” roundtable was organised by the South Asian Media Commission-Pakistan, the South Asian Free Media Association and the Karachi Press Club.
Mr Abbas said: “If a journalist is killed while performing his professional duties, it’s the responsibility of the organisation he works for to look after his family, not the government. The responsibility of the government is to investigate the case.”
He said that there had been no government action despite the Interior Minister vowing to launch a commission to investigate the killing of 89 journalists.

Mr Abbas pointed out the situation was more pronounced at TV channels. The absence of professional training of anchor persons was one of the factors that led to their asking questions that could endanger the reporter’s life, he said.
Mr Abbas opined that target killings of journalists were likely to increase since fair reporting was appreciated neither by rulers nor by media tycoons.
President Karachi Press Club (KPC) Tahir Hasan Khan said there were different pressure groups, including political parties, sectarian and ethnic organisations, which exerted pressure on media.