Journalists live in fear in Balochistan

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 23, 2013 15:20 hrs

Naziha Syed Ali, one of the leading writers at Dawn newspaper, reveals that there is an apparent sense of fear among the journalists in Balochistan.

In her article for the Dawn newspaper, she recalls that she met some journalists in Quetta a few weeks ago where they were attending a workshop.

"They came from all over the province, including some of the areas where the insurgency is at its height - Khuzdar, Awaran and Turbat. The common refrain was 'don't quote me by name or say anything that could indicate my identity'," she says.

Naziha Syed Ali says that the journalists are a beleaguered community in the province, who face intimidation and worse from different quarters.

13 deaths have occurred in Balochistan between 2006 and 2012 as per the figures compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, she mentions in her article, but no one has been put on trial or convicted for any of these murders.

The Balochistan High Court had earlier in May this year issued show cause notices to owners and chief editors of six newspapers for violating an earlier order not to publish statements by extremist organisations.

"The papers in question had printed the claim of responsibility by a sectarian group, Jaish Al-Islam, for the murder of a police official the month before. One of the editors said the court told him it was no excuse to say that if he did not follow the militants' instructions he would be risking his life," says Naziha Syed Ali.

"Sometimes militants even insist on newspapers printing names of individuals that are on their hit list, which gets the publications into further trouble with the law," she adds. (ANI)

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