NUJ(I) demands an International Enquiry Commission on Shahzad killing

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New Delhi, June 2, 2011 : The National Union of Journalists (India) and its state unit Delhi Journalists Association demonstrated in front of Pakistan High Commission to express its strong anguish against the brutal killing of Pak journalist Saleem Shahzad, 40, who worked for an Italian news agency and an online news site registered in Hong Kong.

The NUJ(I) and DJA submitted a detailed memorandum to His Excellency Mr Shahid Malik, High Commissioner of Pakistan informing that since 1992 atleast 37 journalists was killed in Pakistan and indicates that it is a clear attempt to silence the media and quick disposal of Mr Shahzad body and burial strengthens doubts of the involvement of state actors. In the memorandum it demands that a professional and scientific investigation to apprehend the killers. If it must, the government should seek help from other countries in this regard. A solemn attempt to nab the killers would send out a clear message, as would the failure to do that.

Mr Ras Bihari Secretary General, NUJ(I) and Manoj Verma President DJA called upon all journalists to spare a thought for Shahzad who died in the line of duty writing what he thought was the truth despite knowing that he was putting his life in danger. "This is a clear and violent attack on the rights of free speech, he said. The NUJ(I) also called upon international media community to stand together in this need of hour and demanded an International Enquiry Commission to investigate this brutal killing and to bring the perpetrators of the murder to justice. The Pak Government should consult media organisations with a view to allay journalists’ apprehensions about their safety and security."

Addressing to a large number of fellow journalists at the Pakistan High Commission Mr Ras Bihari said that "Pakistan has long been an acutely unsafe environment for journalists, with the highest number of journalists killed in any country in 2010. Almost all of these cases remain unprosecuted and unpunished. The risks for the journalists are extenuated when they fear harm from agents of the state itself, as has been alleged in Shahzad’s case. NUJ(I) and DJA demands that the government must also immediate release compensation to the bereaved family without further delay.

(Office Secretary)

National Union of Journalists (India)