Baluchistan latest epicenter of attacks on journalists in Pakistan
By Sumit Galhotra
It is one step forward and two steps back in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province. The nation's highest court has acknowledged the dangerous climate journalists face in Baluchistan, but it has also affirmed a directive that only adds to the pressure cooker conditions that journalists work under.
Last week, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry affirmed the Baluchistan High Court's order to bar news coverage of banned groups, which has caused tension among journalists. The order restricts the media from publishing or airing news items that cover banned groups or project their views. Journalists, however, are under intense pressure to report in line with the views of various militants and separatists. Now, pressure is being exerted from the other side as well.
"It has become very difficult to work in such a stifling climate of threats," Essa Tareen, president of the Baluchistan Union of Journalists, told CPJ by phone. "Just today, we received news of a case where a journalist named Nadeem Garginari, a senior journalist and the president of Khuzdar Press Club, was targeted by miscreants just minutes ago. One of his sons was killed and another injured in the incident," he told CPJ. CPJ is investigating possible motives in the attack to determine if it is connected to Garginari's work as a journalist.