UN deplores yet another killing of a journalist in Pakistan

31 August 2009

The United Nations agency that defends press freedom has condemned yet another murder of a journalist working in north-western Pakistan after an Afghan television reporter known for his criticism of the Taliban was slain there last week.

Janullah Hashimzada, the 37-year-old bureau chief in Peshawar for the TV channel Shamshad, died after being shot multiple times in an ambush last Monday in the Khyber Pass region linking Pakistan and Afghanistan. His colleague, Ali Khan, was seriously wounded during the same attack.

Mr. Hashimzada, who also worked on a freelance basis for the news agencies AP and Pajhwok Afghan News, the newspapers Wahdat and Sahar, and the TV network Al-Arabia, is the second journalist to be killed in Pakistan this month.

Sadiq Bacha Khan, a correspondent of Aaj TV and former President of the Press Club of Mardan, was shot dead on his way to work on 14 August.

The International Press Institute (IPI) says 11 journalists have been killed in Pakistan in the past two years, with six of the murders occurring in the strife-torn northwest. Mr. Hashimzada had told colleagues previously about death threats he had received.

Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued a statement on Friday condemning the slaying of Mr. Hashimzada and noting that journalists pay “too heavy a price” for carrying out their work.

“This murder highlights the vulnerability of journalists working in conflict and post-conflict areas, where they fulfil a vital role in providing us with independent information,” he said.

“Peace, democracy and the rule of law depend and require an open and informed debate, which is also essential for reconciliation and reconstruction.”


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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UNESCO chief alarmed at attacks on journalists in north-west Pakistan

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the recent killing of a television journalist in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and urged authorities to ensure the safety of media professionals in the South Asian nation.