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Threats against journalists... By Misha

25 December, 2013

Journalism is among the most respected professions in the world but is also the most precarious one. It is not gender biased; it is for those who have the passion to know, analyse and question. This is what journalism is about, with all its branches. But what happens to a society such as in Pakistan where a few intelligent people try to raise their voices? Pakistani society is an intolerant society and thus, for some people, questioning authority is out of the question. Being a journalist, and that too a female journalist, is like a sheer crime.

In the year 2013, numerous journalists have been threatened, physically abused, kidnapped, harassed and have disappeared. This also includes a well-known journalist, Jasmine Manzoor, who initially worked as an anchor on a private television channel. What made this anchor quit journalism and leave Pakistan? There is only one reason: the prevailing insecurity. Women journalists have been encountering vicious behaviour and incidents, especially harassment at work and kidnapping. What we fail to do is offer these important citizens some security given the precarious yet honest job they do. It is indeed saddening that awareness providers and activists face such a terrible fate and the sheer end of their careers. They are the ones who unveil the masked imposters and reveal the truth, so why are they treated inhumanly?

Now a few questions arise in the current scenario. Has this profession become the deadliest of all for Pakistanis? Is there any investigation of missing journalists and are there any follow ups? How would such intolerant behaviour be corrected in order to reduce the losses Pakistani journalism faces? How does the government plan to safeguard the emerging journalists, especially women?

MISHA RIZVI
Karachi

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