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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the government’s failure to respond to a wave of attacks on media outlets throughout Pakistan in recent weeks and the absence of effective measures to protect news organizations and journalists.
In the latest attack, two individuals on a motorcycle threw a homemade bomb at the bureau of the TV news channel _Express News_ in Sargodha, in the eastern province of Punjab, on 7 December, injuring a security guard and damaging one of its vehicles.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is marking its 30th anniversary by publishing a report that looks back on the three decades it has spent defending freedom of information.
Aside from a slight fall in the number of journalists killed in connection with their work, the Reporters Without Borders round-up for 2014 highlights an evolution in the nature of violence against journalists and the way certain kinds, including carefully-staged threats and beheadings, are being used for very clear purposes.
Pakistan must investigate Inter-Services Intelligence over attacks against journalists
Pakistani authorities should immediately investigate the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military’s premier spy agency, over its alleged involvement in journalist attacks, said Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the abduction and killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad.
As the United Nations Human Rights Council prepared for its Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan, Reporters Without Borders expressed alarm over growing threats to journalists’ lives and safety in many regions of the country.
The free press organization, which has official consultative status with the U.N., had recommended as recently as April a series of measures designed to protect journalists in Pakistan.
Two days ago the 14-year-old blogger Malala Yousafzai, was shot and wounded in the head and neck by the Pakistan Taliban on her way home from school.
A gunman stopped the school bus on which the young activist was travelling and shot her and two other girls whom he had asked to identify her. Doctors at the Saidu Sharif hospital in the northern city of Mingora successfully removed the bullets from her but for some time she remained in a critical condition.
2011 in figures:
66 journalists killed (16% more than in 2010)
1,044 journalists arrested
1,959 journalists physically attacked or threatened
499 media censored
71 journalists kidnapped
73 journalists fled their country
5 netizens killed
199 bloggers and netizens arrested
62 bloggers and netizens physically attacked
68 countries subject to Internet censorship
As the world marks International Day of the Disappeared today, Reporters Without Borders notes that many countries are still violating international law on this matter, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which the UN General Assembly adopted in 2006.
Reporters Without Borders calls for the universal ratification of this convention, which has so far been signed by 91 countries and ratified by 29. Combating enforced disappearance is vital in the struggle against dictatorships and arbitrary rule.
Two appalling events marked 2009: one was the largest ever massacre of journalists in a single day - a total of 30 killed - by the private militia of a governor in the southern Philippines and the other was an Tunprecedented wave of arrests and convictions of journalists and bloggers in Iran following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection.
A total of around 160 journalists in all continents were forced to go into exile to escape prison or death, often in very dangerous circumstances.
Reporters Without Borders condemns a suicide bombing this morning at the entrance to the Press Club of the northwestern city of Peshawar that killed four people - a policeman, the club's cashier, a passer-by and the bomber himself - and injured 17. The club is used by Peshawar's journalists but the only media victim was a cameraman who was slightly hurt.
"I passed by the gate some 30-50 seconds before the attack and was looking at a notice-board when a loud explosion struck my ears," Manzoor Ali Shah of the Daily Times told Reporters Without Borders.
Reporters Without Borders has sent emergency funds to help the dozens of Swat valley journalists who have been forced to flee the area because of fighting between the Pakistani army and the Taliban.
More than 30 journalists and their families have had to seek refuge in Peshawar and other cities since the army launched its offensive against Islamist militants in the Swat valley.
Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the situation in the Swat valley as the Pakistani armed forces step up their operations against the Taliban there. Newspapers had already stopped publishing after the military imposed a curfew. Now journalists are fleeing to safer areas. The Khyber Union of Journalists today urged the government to allow the media access to Mingora, the largest city in the valley.
"It is now impossible to get independently-sourced information about what is happening in the Swat valley," Reporters Without Borders said.
Reporters Without Borders is alarmed about the impact that the imposition of the Sharia (Islamic law) in Pakistan's northern Swat valley is having on press freedom.