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Pakistani Journalist Shot Dead on New Year's Day

Pakistan, January 03, 2014: Journalists in Karachi protest killing of local journalist Shan Dhar.
For the last several years, Pakistan has been among the most dangerous places in the world for journalists because of targeted killings against them and impunity for the perpetrators of such crimes.

As reported in the "Friday Times," deadly violence has already struck in 2014. On January 1 Shan Dahar, a reporter working with Abb Tak TV channel, was shot dead in Larkana, a city in the country's southeast Sindh province.

According to Bob Dietz, Asia program director for the U.S. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), “Threats come from many different sides – militant groups, army and intelligence actors operating with and without central command approval, corrupt politicians, and allied business interests.”

Dietz wrote in his blog last week that it is not yet clear if Dahar was murdered or died in an accident but noted, "The confusion serves as yet another example of how weak investigations and a lack of accountability have become the hallmarks of journalist killings in Pakistan."

Risks may be especially pronounced for journalists working in Pakistan's Federally Tribal Administrated Area (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Amnesty International has documented the murders of at least three journalists in northwest Pakistan in 2013, possibly as a result of their reporting.

Daud Khattak, a senior editor for RFE/RL's Pashto-language Radio Mashaal, which reports to audiences in Pakistan's northwest border regions, told "Friday Times," “Reporting from FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is like a two-edged sword....Sometimes we have to compromise on quality because a reporter’s life is more important than the report.”

Radio Mashaal's colleagues have been subject to physical assaults, kidnapping, threats and armed attacks.