Pakistani journalists remain endangered

Pakistan has one of the worst records when it comes to press freedom and safety of the lives of journalists and. Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Pakistan 145th out of 180 countries in its 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

Just recently two Pakistani journalists “accused paramilitary forces of torturing them for their reporting on poor conditions at a coronavirus quarantine center on the Afghan border. Saeed Ali Achakzai, a reporter for the Urdu-language Samaa News TV, and Abdul Mateen Achakzai, a reporter for the Pashtun-language Khyber News TV, said they were beaten while under detention for three days in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.”

According to an investigative report in RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal “the two were reporting on the lack of food, water, and other basic facilities at a coronavirus quarantine center near the border city of Chaman. They were then allegedly called to the paramilitary Frontier Corps command center on June 20 and handed over to an anti-terrorism force that took them to a jail and beat them.”

Pakistan’s Federal Union of Journalists “called on the Balochistan government to conduct a judicial inquiry into the incident and demanded the arrest of any government official involved.”

RSF in a statement said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that representatives of the security forces should commit acts of torture simply because they didn’t like what these two journalists reported. RSF says that journalists working in the Chaman area are constantly harassed for their work covering corruption and “every kind of trafficking” between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Author: Nadia Khalid

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