A day before he was shot at in Lahore, journalist Raza Rumi had contacted Amnesty International to inform that his name was on Pakistan Taliban’s hit list.
The organisation’s new report, titled “A Bullet has been chosen for you, attacks on journalists in Pakistan” was released on Wednesday.
Based on interviews with 100 journalists and media workers and extensive field research on over 70 cases, it examines several recent cases where journalists were targeted for their reporting.
According to the research, at least 34 journalists may have been killed as a direct consequence of their work since democratically-elected government was restored in Pakistan in March 2008.
The report says journalists face a range of threats in Pakistan, including those from civil and military state organs such as the police and security forces. But no state actor is more feared by journalists than the Directorate for Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Amnesty’s investigation of cases shows journalists are particularly at risk of harassment and abuse if they expose security lapses by the military, its alleged links to armed groups, human rights violations by the security forces in Balochistan and northwest Pakistan or if they work for foreign media outlets considered by the state to be hostile to Pakistan.
Amnesty investigated 74 cases for this report, and in only two of these have the perpetrators been convicted — murder of Wali Khan Babar and the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Of these 74 cases, police or other authorities carried out an initial investigation in 36 cases, and in a handful of incidents victims or their families received security protection, compensation or other assistance from the state.