Pakistan: Authorities Disregard Attempted Murder of Minority Rights Journalist
On 9 June 2017, Rana Tanveer, a Pakistani minority rights journalist, faced an assassination attempt as he was deliberately hit by a car when he was riding his motorcycle. Tanveer survived the attack but is currently hospitalized with a broken leg. A few days prior to the attack, his home was vandalised and covered in hostile graffiti. Although Tanveer immediately reported the incident to the authorities, they took no action. Incidents such as these are all too common in Pakistan, where strict blasphemy laws fuel radicalism and threaten minorities, as well as those trying to protect minorities. Various human rights NGOs working in Pakistan, including Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International, call on the Pakistani government to take action.
Below is an article published by Reporters Without Borders:
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges Pakistan’s government to take whatever measures are necessary to protect journalists after Rana Tanveer, a newspaper reporter who covers religious minorities, was first threatened and then, two days later, was deliberately knocked down by a car in Lahore.
Tanveer was riding his motorcycle to a meeting with family members in Lahore on 9 June when he was deliberately rammed from behind by a car – a common form of violence against journalists in Pakistan. He is still hospitalized with a broken leg.
Two days before the attack, he arrived home to find his front door vandalized and covered with graffiti accusing him of being an “unbeliever who deserves to be killed.” He immediately moved to a different location and reported the threats to the police, who took no action.
Tanveer writes for Express Tribune, an English-language newspaper that has been physically attacked on several occasions over its coverage of the problems of religious minorities in Pakistan. Tanveer himself has covered violence against these minorities, who are often targeted by religious groups without any reaction from the authorities.
RSF calls on the authorities to implement concrete and effective policies to put a stop to the frequent reprisals against journalists who cover sensitive issues. The government must recognize that its lack of action encourages such acts of violence and that there is an urgent to need to take appropriate measures to combat the repeated attacks.
Pakistan continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. The government shows little interest in taking action to address this situation and in fact its latest measures seem to display hostility towards media freedom. Last month, the authorities announced plans for a “code of conduct” for the print media and disciplinary measures against two journalists with Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest newspaper.
Four bloggers who had expressed liberal views and had commented on enforced disappearances were themselves abducted in January. They were released a few weeks later.
Pakistan is ranked 139th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.