UN Names Pakistan as Worst Offender of Press Freedom

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  • TEMPO.CO, New York - World Press Freedom Day was held under a cloud on Saturday, with increasing numbers of journalists imprisoned and under threat.

    The United Nations said that 71 journalists were killed last year, while another 826 were arrested. More than 2,000 journalists had been threatened or physically attacked.

    The Freedom House reported a drop in global press freedom, with only one out of six people worldwide enjoying an unrestricted media. The report stated that the percentage fell to its lowest point in a decade due to authoritarian regimes and economic challenges.

    Freedom House identified the most 64 "not free" countries, which include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. Myanmar, Egypt, Eritrea, Russia, with Pakistan and Venezuela named as the worst offenders of press freedom.

    UN declares Pakistan as the most dangerous country for journalists, with Amnesty International urging the government to investigate its military and intelligence agencies over the increasing violence. Since 2008, at least 34 journalists have died and since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was elected in May 2013, eight deaths have been reported.

    "This will send a powerful signal to those who target journalists that they no longer have free reign," David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director, told Al-Jazeera.

    DAWN | VOA | SITA PLANASARI AQUADINI