Wednesday Nov 02 2022
Web Desk

Journalists raise concerns for safety of colleagues amid growing threats

Web Desk
A panel discussion organised by GNMI takes place in Karachi. — GNMI
A panel discussion organised by GNMI takes place in Karachi. — GNMI
  • Abbas urges journalists to fight, instead of running away from battlefield.
  • Other journalists urge for safety and security of colleagues in high-risk areas.
  • "Every murdered journalist is reduced to just another number," Najia Ashar.

KARACHI: Speaking at an event marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas Wednesday urged journalists to fight the fight and not run away from the battlefield.

Abbas's comments came during a panel discussion focused on targeted attacks on journalists and the imposition of curbs on press freedom in Karachi organised by the Karachi-based non-profit organisation Global Neighbourhood for Media Innovation (GNMI).

Commenting on the safety and security of journalists, Abbas said: "Mostly, if a journalist dies while the following news, the news dies with them as well – why doesn’t their organisation or their colleagues follow up on the news? Why does their death go in vain?"

He further added that not only should journalists comply with safety and security measures but their organisations must also show responsibility toward them.

"A journalist does not remain a journalist after they lose their life in the line of duty," the senior journalist said during the discussion.

Also speaking on the occassion was veteran journalist Faysal Aziz Khan who maintained that training is an essential part of journalism, especially regarding safety and security in high-risk areas.

When remembering the attacks on senior journalist Hamid Mir, Khan said that the biggest reason why he is still alive is because of the training he had been provided.

Khan went on to complain that there is a lack of a proper forum to advocate for, discuss, and find solutions for the issues concerning journalists.

Commenting on the death of Sadaf Naeem, the journalist who lost her life in PTI's ongoing long march, journalist Amber Rahim Shamsi said that lack of equal distribution of resources becomes a reason for journalists compromising their safety.

While journalist Masood Raza shared some anecdotes of his abduction in the line of duty in Balochistan.

"We are used to blaming the government for the lack of safety but organisations should also be held accountable to provide protection to journalists," he said, adding that a journalist should be confident in the support that their organisation is meant to provide when faced with an issue.

Najia Ashar, founder and president of GNMI, spoke about the late journalist Arshad Sharif, whose recent killing has shaken the country's journalism community.

Ashar said that the most unfortunate thing about society is that every murdered journalist is reduced to just another number, one that continues to increase.

"The criminal justice system, which is supposed to provide justice, remains helpless. Because of this, journalism is in danger. When the foundations of journalism are attacked, journalists will also fall victim – and this is where enemies try to take advantage, Ashar said, when addressing the event's attendees.