Pakistan journalists' choice: Face death, or jail
- IPL spot-fixing case: Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested in Mumbai
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Chennai Super Kings bat, Sachin Tendulkar still out
- Pune Warriors withdraw from IPL, 'disgusted' by BCCI's attitude
- IPL spot fixing: How Sreesanth splurged money on girlfriend
- Li Keqiang visits TCS, Cyrus P Mistry says China important for growth of Tata Group
The telephone call to local journalists generally comes in the late evening. The voice on the other end is harsh. He has a statement he wants printed, and he prefaces it with a terse order: "Report our messages without making any changes or we will kill you.''
The messages they deliver warn of upcoming violence or assassinations, sometimes naming an intended victim, or claim responsibility for atrocities already committed. The calls come from Sunni militants notorious for violence against minority Shiites or members of secessionist groups that routinely blow up police stations and attack government facilities in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan.
But the late-night calls put the journalists in a bind. If they don't print the messages, they could be killed. If they do print them, they could face three years in prison under Pakistan's anti-terrorism laws. It's no surprise which risk they'd rather run. At least 20 journalists have been killed in Baluchistan the past six years, their bullet-ridden bodies sometimes found stuffed into sacks.
"If you are a journalist here in Baluchistan you have a choice: Either a bullet in the head or a jail sentence,'' said Ashiq Butt, a stocky bureau chief with the News Network International (NNI), a Pakistani news agency that feeds its reports to newspapers.
ut authorities are putting pressure from their side as well, trying to stem spiraling violence in the province.
Last month, the Baluchistan provincial government for the first time charged 21 news organizations, their owners and several journalists under the anti-terrorist law, which provides for three years in jail if convicted of carrying messages, reports or information supplied by outlawed militant groups. The charge sheet filed by the government accused the news organizations of "spreading panic.''
Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist, according to the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists. In the last six years 41 journalists have died violently in Pakistan, although 12 of those deaths are still under investigation to determine whether their deaths were linked to their jobs as journalists, according to the CPJ site.
- 'Sophisticated' Indian cyberattacks targeted Pak military sites: Report
- Talkative Li quoted Weber, Hegel, Jobs, said PM is large-hearted
- Bihar food corp ends up with chaff as rice worth Rs 535 cr vanishes from mills
- In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr
- India and China ask border envoys to work on more steps
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held