This statement was originally published on ipi.media on 19 March 2021.
The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives, and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the brutal killing of Pakistani journalist Ajay Laalwani on March 18 in Sindh province and called on the government of Pakistan to bring the killers to justice.
According to news reports, Laalwani, a reporter for Royal News TV and a member of Pakistan’s Hindu minority, was shot down yesterday by a group of armed men while he was at a barber shop in the city of Sukkur. Laalwani suffered bullet wounds and was taken to a local hospital where he died.
“IPI strongly condemns the murder of Ajay Laalwani. The authorities in Pakistan must immediately investigate his killing and find and punish all those who were responsible, including the gunmen as well as whoever ordered the murder,” IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “We fear that Pakistan’s long history of impunity for crimes against journalists continues to provide fertile ground for new acts of violence against the press. Combating this impunity must be a top priority for local and national law enforcement in the country.”
The Sindh Journalists’ Council (SJC) has asked the chief minister of the province and the authorities to take action to arrest the shooters without delay.
The murder of Laalwani follows several recent incidents of violence against Pakistani journalists. According to the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors’ (CPNE) recent report, at least 10 reporters were murdered in the country in 2020. Other journalists have faced assault, harassment and arrest.
Just two days before the death of Laalwani, police in Sindh had opened a terrorism investigation against three journalists for their coverage of demonstrations against the apparent extrajudicial killing of a student. One of the journalists, Sahil Jogi, of Samma TV, said he was tortured by police who entered his home.
On February 21, a group of protesters attacked the head offices of the Jang-Geo media group in Karachi and reportedly beat staff members. The group had first planned to head to the Karachi Press Club but had changed their route at the last minute, Sindh’s information minister said later.
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Source: MEDIA FEED