#EndImpunity: Violence against journalists sparks Twitter storm in Pakistan

  • The activism to raise voice against impunity for crimes against journalists has remained a lethargic process in Pakistan till now

When we think about the most dangerous jobs in the world, we may think of military men, firefighters, astronauts, bodyguards but, according to an alert by UN, journalism (reporting) is actually one of the most dangerous professions.

When journalists are reporting organised crimes, exposing the corruption by powerful, reporting transgressions committed by political or extremist groups, they are risking their lives while performing their duty.

Unfortunately, in this profession, the stories covered may result in kidnapping, assault and even death of journalists and their staff.

Nowadays, journalism is more dangerous than ever.

To acknowledge the dangers journalists encounter, in their line of duty, at its 68th session in 2013, UN proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’. The resolution passed by UN urged the Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists on 2 November 2013.

Despite the efforts of the UN, the trend of journalist killings is on rising. In the past eleven years, approximately 930 journalists have been killed for bringing information to the public. On average, this is one death every four days. Impunity prevails in journalist killings thus, nine out of ten killers go unpunished, inviting more violence against journalists.

Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world when it comes to the safety of journalists. According to the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan ranks 139 out of 180 countries.

Safety of journalists in Pakistan: #EndImputiny

The activism to raise voices against impunity for crimes against journalists remained a lethargic process in Pakistan till now. Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD) and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), formed an alliance to raise voice to end impunity and for the first time in Pakistan, a strong voice was raised to end impunity in Pakistan.

MMFD took to Twitter to raise a voice against impunity and created a twitter storm. Journalists from all over the Pakistan used #endimpunity and #noimpunity to express their concerns on the condition of journalists safety in Pakistan.

#EndImpunity became the top trend in Pakistan:

“Why would people choose the journalism profession anymore given the safety issues we face?”, asks a journalist

Statistics on journalist killings in Pakistan were shared:

Renowned journalist Wassatullah Khan shed some light on the necessity of ending impunity:

Waqas Naeem, a journalist turned trainer, shared the story of a sister striving to get justice for his brother, who was killed investigating counterfeit medicine firms:

The fight against impunity for crimes against journalists in Pakistan is a long one. The presence of several mild authoritarianism, extremist groups, religious intolerance and conflict zones make journalism a dangerous profession. But this twitter storm to end impunity may be considered as the first drop of rain!

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Urooj Tarar

Urooj Tarar

Urooj Tarar is Sub-Editor at Daily Pakistan Global