Islamabad, Jan 7 (IANS) In a year when 13 Pakistani journalists were killed in the line of action, attempts to muzzle the media by the state and "powerful individuals" and politicians continue unabated, a leading Pakistani daily said Monday.
Citing the "South Asia Media Monitor Report, 2012", the News International said in an editorial that 25 media personnel were killed in eight South Asian countries, with Pakistan once again leading with 13 journalists losing their lives.
The daily said hundreds of journalists "are harassed almost as a matter of routine".
"Violence against journalists remains the single biggest threat to the freedom of expression across the entire region," the daily said.
Stating that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained the most dangerous places in the country, the daily said: "Overt and covert attempts to muzzle the media by the state and powerful individuals and agencies within it as well as by individual politicians and private entities, continue unabated".
It said many journalists were poorly paid, and many were not paid at all for months, contributing to their sense of insecurity.
The daily lamented that "not much is invested in safety training or equipment, which could enable journalists to report from zones of conflict at reduced or mitigated risk".
"The freedom of expression that we (the Pakistani media) have, incomplete and imperfect as it is, has been hard-fought for. Retaining it is going to be a challenge for decades to come," it added.