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KARACHI: A majority of the killers are still at large, as terrorism claimed lives of 76 journalists in the country since 2002, speakers told audience at the launch of Pakistan Journalists Memorial website by 'Editors For Safety (EfS)' on Monday.

Ironically, the governments in different tenures overlooked the cases of slain journalists. Many of them fell victim either to the spy organizations or extremist outfits ever since the US war on terror set off in Afghanistan, they added.

At the launch ceremony of Pakistan Journalists Memorial website by Editors For Safety (EfS), Editor Dawn, (founding chairman EfS) Zafar Abass, Chief Editor Awami Awaz Jabbar Khattak, Editor Dawn.com Jahanzaib Haque, besides Owais Aslam Ali of Pakistan Press Foundation (PFF) highlighted their concerns over threats to newsmen in Pakistan.

The portal may be reached online at https://editorsforsafety.org/ Journalists Memorial website). The website was launched on the eve of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2021. The event held in Karachi Press Club's auditorium.

Zafar Abass said that Efs was primarily set up to break the taboo of not publishing the stories of victim journalists belonging to the other media houses by the rest of newspapers and TV channels in the country.

The unreported cases of killed, harassed, threatened and thrashing of journalists had helped to water down the issue's gravity and had no impacts on the policymakers and the incumbent governments, he said.

He pointed out that the rivalry or competition amongst the media owners not to report such important stories was the prime reason behind the killings and other threats to the newsmen remained unnoticed not only by the society but also the government.

The Efs helped bring together the all media houses to understanding and recognition of the issue that was virtually aggravating on a regular basis. And, this helped that a single voice from all media houses will have an impact on the government to respond to the threats.

Previously, the governments in their terms would shun responding to the killings of journalists, mainly carried out by spy agents or militant groups. This platform works in a better way to highlight threats to the newsmen and serves its purpose, he said.

The recognition by all media houses to report the victim journalists of the rival TV channel or newspaper also led to the setting up of "The Pakistan Journalists Memorial website," Zafar told.

He showed concerns over a large number of killers are free from justice as death toll of journalists during professional duties has touched 76 since 2002. The impunity, he said, should have to end and the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The longer this impunity continues, the greater journalists will suffer and the democracy will deteriorate in the country, he said, adding that the online harassment cases especially women journalists have grown. "Attack on one will be considered attack on all media houses and journalists," he said.

Jabbar Khattak welcomed the star of the web portal, hoping it will help highlight the problems of working journalists and make such cases noticeable to a great extent. The move may also help gather record of killed journalists and reports on harassment and other threats.

He said that the governments also downplayed the journalists' victimization but they may not be able to carry out its numbness to the issues after the website is online.

Owais Aslam Ali highlighted threats to the journalists that included: Physical, cyber, killing, abduction, harassment, etc. Jahanzaib Haque gave a presentation on the website and informed the audience on its features.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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