Pakistan continues to remain one of the most dangerous countries in which to be a journalist. According to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan ranks 5th on list of countries where press freedom is under threat. 93 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 2003.
As an editorial in Dawn notes, “Pakistan’s position on this list is a moment of humiliation for our leaders, and a testament to its weak democracy. It falls in the list of countries where no war is officially taking place, but where the situation is still not safe for reporters.”
In Pakistan, unfortunately, “journalists have been killed not only by militants and insurgents but also by unidentified state actors. The common thread in these killings is that truth and justice are elusive, and killers walk free while families look in vain for answers. The recent killing of Arshad Sharif in Kenya under mysterious circumstances only underscores this fact, and points to a chilling reality that Pakistani journalists and dissidents are not safe from threats even outside the country.”
If the Pakistani state is genuine about reforming the way things are done, it needs to do more than simply issue token condemnations and investigation announcements. Otherwise, Pakistan will, as it has for most of its existence, be a democracy in name only.