Islamabad, May 3: During the last year, as many as 15 journalists were murdered while on duty, 357 were arrested, and 123 others sustained injuries in different incidents of violence while on coverage, said a recent report released by Intermedia, media development organization based in Pakistan.
The 18-page report described last year (April 2007 to March 2008) as the worst year in the history of Pakistani media. The report also cites 18 cases of attacks and ransacking of media property and 88 cases of various gag orders issued by the government. Titled "Murder and Mayhem: The Worst Year for Media in Pakistan", the annual report on the state of media in Pakistan, 2007-08, reveals that in the last 12 months, physical violence touched the life of around 700 journalists while the fear of it haunted many hundreds of others.
"On an average, every 26th day a journalist died in Pakistan, one was arrested or abducted every day, one was assaulted and injured every third day, one was explicitly threatened every third day, a media property was attacked every 20th day and a gag order issued every 5th day", The Nation quoted the report as saying.
It said that in cases of journalists murders, the identity of the killers remained unknown. Sindh proved to be the deadliest province for journalists to work in with seven killed there. Three were killed in Islamabad, while two were killed in Balochistan, and one lost his life in each of the three provinces viz Punjab, NWFP and FATA.
The report shows that Islamabad emerged as the 'media threat capital' of Pakistan, the place most dangerous in the country to practice journalism with no less than 143 of the 368 cases of various categories of intimidation of the media recorded here. In the city, during the period under review, three journalists were murdered, seven were arrested, 58 were injured and 66 were harassed or explicitly threatened while there were three cases of attacks on media properties and 47 instances of gag orders on media organisations.