A Correspondent for a television station in Punjab province, eastern Pakistan, the journalist had signed several reports denouncing the actions of a mafia group specialized in extortion.
Journalist Mirza Waseem Baig , 92 News correspondent in the city of Sarai Alamgir, 120 kilometers south-east of Islamabad, was killed on the road to hospital on August 30, after three men shot him six bullets at close range in front of his house.
The police officer in charge of the investigation, Ameer Abbas, confirmed with RSF the motive of the assassins: “The reporter had broadcast several reports about them that displeased them, so they killed him and fled. ” A version confirmed by the reporter’s wife, Safia Waseem, who told RSF that she had to move to a safer place after her family received threats as a result of her husband’s murder.
The perpetrators of the murder of Mirza Waseem Baig allegedly linked to a mafia group specialized in the extortion of funds from local elected officials, as denounced by the journalist in several reports, always available on his Facebook page .
“We call on the Prime Minister of Punjab state to do their work to regain the sponsors of this heinous crime , says Daniel Bastard, head of Asia-Pacific office RSF. We also call on the federal government and the legislator to urgently finalize a law guaranteeing the protection of journalists and the fight against impunity, in order to stop the spiral of violence faced by the country’s reporters.”
In the same province of Punjab, on September 11, another reporter, Zafar Abbas , was found murdered at the bottom of a well , four days after being reported missing. The investigation is currently at a standstill. At least three other journalists in the region have been murdered in the line of duty since the beginning of 2019.
In order to make up for the shortcomings of the Pakistani authorities with regard to the safety of journalists, RSF has contributed with its local partner to the creation of security hubs for journalists (Safety Hubs) throughout the country. Composed of local journalists, these structures provide appropriate assistance to journalists who feel threatened in the practice of their profession.
Pakistan ranks 142nd out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index .
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