By Khalid Khattak
Over the years journalists in Pakistan have been struggling to achieve a free press. That said, the situation is improving.
It is partially because of sacrifices made by Pakistani journalists over time and, perhaps more significantly, because of the modern technology.
Still Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. A recent report released on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US based nonprofit organization that promotes freedom of press and defends the journalists’ rights, highlighted rising impunity rates in different countries including Pakistan.
According to the report Pakistan’s failure to prosecute a single suspect in the 23 journalists’ murders over the past decade has pushed it up two spots on the index. In 2013, the country was ranked 8th. Last year it was ranked 10th.
Undoubtedly Pakistani journalists work in one of the most unfavorable environments – professionally, socially and personally. Besides the anti-press violence and the government’s indifferent attitude in this regard, Pakistani journalists are facing problems such as low salaries, almost no training opportunities, lack of safety gadgets while covering terrorism related incidents and many other issues related to their capacity building, safety and welfare.
Also, unfortunately the plight of Pakistani journalists is not highlighted by the mainstream media organizations. But thanks to modern technology, it is easier for journalists to reach more and more people today across the globe.
The threats and problems journalists usually face in Pakistan are manifold.
It’s been over six weeks since I started working in a US newsroom under the Alfred Friendly/Daniel Pearl Fellowship program. Honestly, I am still working to fully understand what it means when people say press is free in United States. One observation I have made is that in this part of the world, media companies invest a lot in journalists which undoubtedly adds to the quality journalism.