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Attacks on the Press in 2011 - Pakistan

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 22 February 2012
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2011 - Pakistan, 22 February 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f4cc98228.html [accessed 24 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Key Developments

  • Zardari pledges to reverse record of impunity; unpunished killings continue.

  • Pakistan remains the world's deadliest nation for the press; threats and assaults become more common.

Meeting with a CPJ delegation in May, President Asif Ali Zardari committed his government to the pursuit of justice in journalist murders. But with seven journalists killed, five in targeted killings, Pakistan was the world's deadliest country for the press for the second consecutive year. High-profile investigations into the drive-by shooting of Wali Khan Babar in January and the abduction and fatal beating of Saleem Shahzad in May yielded no prosecutions, replicating the country's long-standing record of impunity in journalist murders. Intelligence officials were suspected of complicity in the Shahzad case and other anti-press attacks. With Zardari's government unwilling or unable to protect journalists, media organizations stepped up efforts to protect reporters working in the field. But widespread violence in Baluchistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Karachi, and the Swat Valley – combined with the war in Afghanistan – made the challenge exceptionally difficult. At least three Pakistani journalists fled into exile during the year.

Analysis: Under Siege, Pakistani Media Look Inward

As journalists continue to be targeted, the government of Asif Ali Zardari has shown itself unable and unwilling to stand up for a free press. Whatever solutions exist will have to be found by people in the profession. Analysis by Bob Dietz

[Refworld note: The sections that follow represent a best effort to transcribe onto a single page information that appears in tabs on the CPJ's own pages, which also include a number of graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2011.]


Impunity Index ranking: 10th

Pakistan is one of the world's worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, CPJ's Impunity Index shows.

Journalist murders have gone unpunished over the last decade with just one exception, the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. At least 14 journalist murders have gone unpunished during that time frame.

CPJ's 2011 Impunity index:

1. Iraq
2. Somalia
3. Philippines
4. Sri Lanka
5. Colombia
6. Afghanistan
7. Nepal
8. Mexico
9. Russia
10. Pakistan
11. Bangladesh
12. Brazil
13. India


Killed in 2011: 7

As violence escalated throughout Pakistan, the risks to journalists increased dramatically, CPJ research shows. At least 29 journalists have been killed in Pakistan in direct relation to their work since 2007.


Killed since 1992: 41

With 41 work-related fatalities, Pakistan is the world's sixth deadliest nation for the press since 1992, CPJ research shows.

Deadliest nations, 1992-2011:

1. Iraq: 151
2. Philippines: 72
3. Algeria: 60
4. Russia: 53
5. Colombia: 43
6. Pakistan: 41
7. Somalia: 36
8. India: 27
9. Mexico: 27
10. Afghanistan: 24


Prosecution after special inquiries: 1

Over the past decade, the government has commissioned at least six high-level special investigations into attacks on journalists, CPJ research shows. In only one case, however, has a special inquiry led to a prosecution.

Many investigations, few results:

2002: Daniel Pearl, killed, prosecution brought

2006: Hayatullah Khan, killed, no prosecution

2010: Umar Cheema, attacked, no prosecution

2011: Waqar Kiani, attacked, no prosecution

2011: Wali Khan Babar, killed, no prosecution


Civilian fatalities, 2007-11: 12,643

Journalists were covering an exceptionally violent story, as shown by data from the Pakistan Institute for Peace, which monitors terrorist attacks and other acts of violence across the country.

A closer look at violence, according to institute data:

24,171: Civilians injured, 2007-11

3,393: Violent incidents, 2010

2,113: Militant attacks, 2010

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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