Pakistan’s journalistic community establish journalists safety hubs for their own protection
The Pakistani journalistic community is struggling to support the personal security of its members
Often, journalists get threatening messages by criminal gangs. A local reporter, Mustafa, was left with no option other than to stop working as a professional journalist. “Professionally, it was strange that I stopped working but I was frustrated and lived in stress for many years,” Mustafa said.
After years of struggle, Pakistan Press Clubs Safety Hubs managed to form an organization to protect professional journalist. Mustafa is now actively managing the organization as a manager for the Karachi region, building on his own experience of dealing with such difficult situations. Mustafa is now helping fellow journalists to not give up their jobs due to life threatening calls. This network of safety hubs has been set up to encourage journalist not give up their duties and provide proper safety to cope up with such situations.
Iqbal Khattak, the director at local press freedom group named Freedom Network Pakistan, founded the Safety Hubs in 2015. The Safety Hubs are an effort of journalists to provide protection to members of the media community. After 9/11 Pakistan became one of the most dangerous places to practice journalism, with reporters at risk of being attacked or even killed by militant groups, criminals, political parties and law enforcement and security agencies. Research from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shows that since 1992, 60 journalists have been killed while performing their duties in Pakistan.
For that reason, Safety Hubs were set up most major cities, providing assistance to professional journalists in distress, monitoring and documenting threats the press community faces, Khattak said.
However, security concerns do not allow them to have any offices in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khattak explained.
The Safety Hubs network provides members of the media community with coordination and assistance to journalist those regions. These hubs are managed by local members of press clubs, they respond to the specific threats in each region according to their capacity. Mustafa explained that Karachi receives most common the threats by militant wings of political parties.