Mazhar Abbas

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Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Sidebar: Verbatim: Threats, Promises, and Fears

“No half-hearted police measures or words of consolation from the highest offices in the land will suffice in the aftermath of the brutal treatment meted out to journalist Umar Cheema of The News.”

Editorial in the newspaper Dawn condemning the September 2010 abduction and beating of Cheema. Intelligence agents were suspected in the attack. No arrests were made.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistan's new effort to improve safety, combat impunity

Journalists in Islamabad demonstrate against journalist murders and the lack of security surrounding the press. (Reuters/Faisal Mehmood)

Representatives from 40 Pakistani and international press groups, development organizations, and media houses came together in Islamabad last week to discuss ways to better protect local journalists at risk of violence, and means to combat the virtually perfect record of impunity that assailants enjoy in this country. It's none too soon. Three journalists have died already in Pakistan this year, and more than 40 have been killed over the past decade. About two dozen have been targeted for murder. On the eve of the March 6-7 conference, members of an ARY Television news crew were shot and beaten by thugs in Hyderabad. The attack attests to the dangerous situation in Pakistan where journalists routinely face threats from an array of sources; where reporters working on dangerous beats have little protection; and where law enforcement response to anti-press attacks is nearly nonexistent.

Blog

Principled broadcasting in Pakistan, a work in progress

Pakistan's media, particularly broadcast, are often praised and condemned, sometimes in the same sentence. The number of television broadcasters exploded under the Musharraf government, growing to around 90 private cable and satellite channels. And while the growth has been swift and competitive, very often the end product leaves a lot to be desired--as many in the industry admit.

August 3, 2012 1:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistan's Abbas: Journalists hostage to 'power of gun'

Pakistani journalists protest the killing of Mukarram Khan Aatif in Peshawar. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

CPJ award winner Mazhar Abbas penned a strong Sunday op-ed piece, "Death is the only news--Challenges of working in conflict zones," for The News. It's about conditions for journalists working in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Baluchistan. As Abbas says, "The killing of one journalist is a message for another." He goes on to describe the situation in FATA:

Blog   |   Pakistan

Mazhar Abbas: Shahzad was no Pearl

Pakistani journalists protest the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad. (AFP/Rizwan Tabassum)

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in Karachi on January 23, 2002. On February 21 of that year, a video of his beheading was released. In the wake of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, veteran Pakistani journalist Mazhar Abbas has taken a comparative look at the two investigations with this article from the most recent magazine section of The News on Sunday.

January 24, 2012 2:22 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

One year on: Remembering Wali Khan Babar

Pakistani journalists protest the death of Wali Khan Babar, killed one year ago today. (AFP/Asif Hassan)

Today is the first anniversary of the killing of Geo TV broadcast reporter Wali Khan Babar in Karachi, a case that has almost been forgotten, particularly in the shadow of the release of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The report on Shahzad has been posted on the Ministry of Information's website.

January 13, 2012 1:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

How can Pakistani journalists protect themselves?

Syed Saleem Shahzad, right, with Pakistani journalist Qamar Yousafzai at the Afghan border in 2006 after being released by the Taliban. (AP)

The memorial service in Washington for journalist Saleem Shahzad--who was killed around May 29--was held at the National Press Club this past Monday. Anwar Iqbal, dean of the Pakistani press corps in Washington, led the ceremony. Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani spoke eloquently about the degree of loss brought by Shahzad's brutal killing. While many of the speakers called for an investigation into Shahzad's death, I had a different train of thought. I focused on an idea that had come up while I was in Karachi this April and May. After all, I thought, too many special investigations have been commissioned and have never seen the light of day, and the same thing seems likely to happen in Shahzad's case. But what if we could have prevented his death in the first place?

Alerts   |   Egypt

Egyptian media say foreign journalists have 'hidden agenda'

An Egyptian general walks through protests in Tahrir Square. (AP)

New York, February 5, 2011--As journalists face ongoing attacks and detentions in Cairo, they are increasingly concerned that state broadcasts are creating an atmosphere that is encouraging violence against the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. State television and radio, along with pro-Mubarak private stations, are giving frequent airtime to presenters and guests who claim that foreigners, including international journalists, have a "hidden agenda" against the government, according to CPJ research. Local journalists have been called "infidels" for working with international media while Al-Jazeera has been accused of "inciting the people." 

Blog   |   Pakistan

Remembering Pakistan's bad old days of November 2007

Pakistani journalists pushed back against Musharraf's clampdown on the media in 2007. (AP)

November 3, 2007, was a dark day in the history of Pakistan's media. Former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf banned all private news channels, and some entertainment and sports channels, through an "oral order." He said he made the move to stop "irresponsible journalism." Many of the staff in the president's office who dealt with the media were unaware of his decision; intelligence agencies were used to tell the cable operators to pull the channels off air. Media reacted strongly. After 80 days of struggle, jailings, and legal battles, including sedition cases brought against some journalists, the government backed down from its decision and allowed the channels back on air.  

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