Wali Khan Babar

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CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Iraq

Unsolved Murders: 100

Population: 32.6 million

Rank: 1

Somalia

Unsolved Murders: 26

Population: 10.2 million

Rank: 2

The Philippines

Unsolved Murders: 51

Population: 96.7 million

Rank: 3

Sri Lanka

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 20.3 million

Rank: 4

Syria

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 22.4 million

Rank: 5

Afghanistan

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 29.8 million

Rank: 6

Mexico

Unsolved Murders: 16

Population: 120.8 million

Rank: 7

Colombia

Unsolved Murders: 6

Population: 47.7 million

Rank: 8

Pakistan

Unsolved Murders: 22

Population: 179.2 million

Rank: 9

Russia

Unsolved Murders: 14

Population: 143.5 million

Rank: 10

Brazil

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 198.7 million

Rank: 11

Nigeria

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 168.8 million

Rank: 12

India

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 1,237 million

Rank: 13

For the last decade, Pakistan has been one of the world's most dangerous countries for the media. At least 46 journalists have been killed, 24 of them murdered for the "crime" of covering the intelligence services, the Taliban, separatists in Baluchistan, or the criminal underworld. The result is a legacy of self-censorship and fear among the Pakistan press; critical stories go unreported. 

New York, March 3, 2014--A Pakistani court on Saturday convicted six defendants for their roles in the murder of Wali Khan Babar, a Geo TV journalist who was shot dead in Karachi in January 2011, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the convictions--the first in the murder of a Pakistani journalist--but calls on authorities to ensure the masterminds are brought to justice.

Eliminating witnesses has become an all too easy and eff ective method of stymying justice when journalists are assassinated. By Elisabeth Witchel

Patricia Ortega is shown holding a photo of her husband, murdered radio host Gerardo Ortega. A witness to Ortega's 2011 killing was found dead in his jail cell in 2013. (AFP/Noel Celis)

Three years have passed since the murder of Geo TV journalist Wali Khan Babar in Karachi. While no justice has been found in Babar's case, his death has not been forgotten. Journalists Beena Sarwar, Umar Cheema, and Malik Siraj Akbar along with CPJ's Bob Dietz commemorated the anniversary of Babar's death on Monday during a HuffPost Live discussion: "Pakistan's Press in Peril?"

After more than a week since journalist Shan Dahar's death, it remains unclear whether he was killed in an accident or targeted for murder--and if targeted, why. The confusion serves as yet another example of how weak investigations and a lack of accountability have become the hallmarks of journalist killings in Pakistan.

Among the more 200,000 Pakistanis living in London is Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. This powerful political party is widely thought to be behind the murder of reporter Wali Khan Babar, a rising star at Geo TV who was shot dead in Karachi in 2011. His coverage focused on politically sensitive topics such as extortion, targeted killings, electricity thefts, land-grabbing, and riots.

Pakistan's Endangered Press
And the Perilous Web of Militancy, Security, and Politics

More than 20 journalists have been murdered in reprisal for their work in Pakistan over the past decade. Not one case has been solved, not a single conviction won. This perfect record of impunity has fostered an ever-more violent climate for journalists. Fatalities have jumped in the past five years, and today, Pakistan ranks among the world’s deadliest nations for the press. The targeted killings of two journalists—Wali Khan Babar in Karachi and Mukarram Khan Aatif in the tribal areas—illustrate the culture of manipulation, intimidation, and retribution that has led to this killing spree. A CPJ special report by Elizabeth Rubin



Introduction

By Bob Dietz

At least 42 journalists have been killed—23 of them murdered—in direct relation to their work in Pakistan in the past decade, CPJ research shows. Not one murder since 2003 has been solved, not a single conviction won. Despite repeated demands from Pakistani and international journalist organizations, not one of these crimes has even been put to a credible trial.

1. The Murder of Wali Khan Babar

On January 13, 2011, Wali Khan Babar, a 28-year-old correspondent for Geo TV, was driving home after covering another day of gang violence in Karachi. Babar was an unusual face on the airwaves: Popular and handsome, he was a Pashtun from Zhob in Baluchistan near the border with Afghanistan. For Geo, it was a rare boon to have a Pashtun in Karachi, and so the station planned to send him abroad for training to become an anchor.

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