Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2018, 16:20 GMT

Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Pakistan

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 14 February 2013
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Pakistan, 14 February 2013, available at: [accessed 22 February 2018]
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

  • Government balks at efforts to address persistent anti-press violence.

  • Threats spread: Reporters in major cities, international journalists targeted.

Pakistan remained one of the deadliest nations in the world for the press, a situation that appeared unlikely to change given the government's unwillingness to confront the problem. In March, Pakistan joined with Brazil and India in raising objections to a comprehensive UNESCO proposal to protect the press and combat impunity in journalist murders. Pakistan has been one of the world's worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, CPJ's Impunity Index shows. At least 21 journalist murders have gone unpunished since the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. A 2012 report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan showed growing ties between political repression and the rising incidence of violence against news media. Threats to journalists in Pakistan were no longer confined to traditionally violent areas such as the border region, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or Baluchistan, CPJ research found. Reporters in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, and Lahore faced persistent threats. And in another troubling development, several international journalists told CPJ that militants had begun threatening them more frequently, as the groups started paying more attention to their global reputations.

[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 dynamically-generated graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2012.]

Killed since 1992: 48

Pakistan is the world's fifth deadliest nation for the press since 1992, CPJ research shows. About 60 percent of the fatalities were targeted murders, with the rest coming during dangerous assignments.

Killed covering politics: 58%

Politics is the most dangerous beat for Pakistani journalists, CPJ research shows, more so than even the coverage of armed conflict.

Beats covered by Pakistani victims*:

6%: Business
15%: Corruption
21%: Crime
4%: Culture
10%: Human Rights
58%: Politics
42%: War

* Adds up to more than 100 percent because more than one category applied in some cases

Impunity Index ranking: 10th

Pakistan is one of the world's worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, CPJ's Impunity Index showed. Journalist murders went unpunished over the prior decade with just one exception, the killing of Pearl in 2002.

World ranking:

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

In exile: 15

Facing threats and violence, numerous Pakistani journalists fled the country between 2007 and 2012, CPJ research shows. Pakistan ranked eighth worst worldwide on this key press freedom indicator.

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