A report released by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) has declared Pakistan as the most dangerous country for journalists in South Asia.
It said thirteen of the 25 journalists killed in South Asia were from Pakistan. Five journalist deaths were recorded in India while three deaths occurred in Bangladesh, making India and Bangladesh the second and third most dangerous South Asian countries for media men.
The report, released in eight countries of the region simultaneously, was unveiled by South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) Secretary General Muhammad Ziauddin in Lahore.
Interestingly, the report pointed out a lack of media outrage and research on press freedom. An essay titled “A Critique of Media Trends in Pakistan in 2012” noted that even though TV anchors offered analysis on a daily basis on the various functions of the state, there was no research being conducted on the deteriorating state of press freedom. The electronic media must hire experts instead of using non-expert political figures simply to save money, the report suggests.
Furthermore, the report said that the media was inept in highlighting judicial activism by the Supreme Court and failed in its duty to provide an informed discourse on some of the apex court’s judgments which were more populist and political in nature.
“The elected government was exposed to a regular assault in the name of accountability by TV anchors, who chose to take sides in the discussions,” it added.
The report also said journalists in the country did not enjoy economic freedom, with publishers closely controlling editorial content. The monitor also noted that most journalists were working for inadequate salaries, which undermined press freedom.
The published report includes articles by Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Muhammad Ziauddin, IA Rehman, Khaled Ahmed, Rubina Saigol and Amir Mir.