Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pakistan: Reporter killed

A Pakistani journalist who reported on feuds between local groups was gunned down in Sindh province on 17 February, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Ashiq Ali Mangi, a reporter for the privately owned television channel Mehran TV, was shot dead on his motorcycle on his way to the Khairpur Press Club, in Gambat, north of Karachi.

The next day, local journalists walked out of the National Assembly and Senate proceedings in the capital, Islamabad, to protest the murder. According to the IFJ, immediately after, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting acknowledged the government's failure to arrest the suspected killers of two other journalists killed in 2009. And he guaranteed that Sindh authorities would carry out a complete investigation of Mangi's murder.

Sources told RSF that Mangi's murder could have been ordered by a former police officer whose alleged connections with criminal groups had been revealed by the journalist.

"Police in Sindh must act quickly to investigate this killing and ascertain whether Ashiq Ali Mangi was killed for his work," said CPJ. "Pakistan badly needs to reassure its journalists that it will address the climate of impunity for those who kill their colleagues."

In another part of the country, authorities in the Swat region ordered a curfew early on 18 February to prevent media personnel from meeting at the Swat Press Club in order to mark the one-year anniversary of murdered journalist Musa Khan Khel. IFJ reports that Khel was abducted and his bullet-riddled body was eventually found. The curfew was lifted in the afternoon.

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