Pakistan deadliest place for press in South Asia: Report

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Lahore, Dec. 30 (ANI): Pakistan is the deadliest place for press in South Asia, with seven of 12 journalists having been killed here in the conflict zones in 2009, according to a new report.

The figures revealed by the South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) indicated that in Pakistan, "some zealots in the profession have used their new freedoms to scandalise and destabilise a fragile democracy, ignoring media norms quite frequently".

The report underlines that the year began with the detention of a journalist in a raid conducted by the Sindh Nationalist Front activists on January 3, 2009.

On January 4, Muhammad Imran, cameraman of a private TV channel and Saleem Tahir Awan, a freelance reporter, rushed to the site of a gas cylinder blast in Dera Ismail Khan only to be killed in a suicide attack along with seven others.

On January 24, Amir Wakeel, editor of a newspaper, was gunned down in Rawalpindi. Another TV channel's employee Noor Hassan was abducted from Swat on February 8.

South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) Secretary General Imtiaz Alam was attacked with hockey sticks by four men when he was driving back home on February 18.

Another journalist Khawar Shafiq was abducted from Faisalabad by a state agency.

Wasi Ahmed, a local journalist from Khuzdar, succumbed in Karachi after he was badly injured during an attack in his home district.

Janullah Hashimzada, an Afghan journalist, was shot down in Khyber Agency on August 24.

The report said two journalists were killed in Afghanistan, one each in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka and seven in Pakistan.

The report noted that the on-going conflict in Pakistan's tribal areas and the surge of terrorism had brought tremendous pressure on journalists and reporting the truth had become "a hazardous affair". (ANI)

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