The importance of journalism is undeniable and gets even more significant in a place where everything is undercover, important events are twisted, falsely embellished and very cleverly spread-out to masses which leaves them no other choice but to believe and percieve them the way manifested.
The mineral Rich Balochistan covering approximately 44% of the total area of Pakistan is one such province whose true exculpated voice is never heard by the people. A province where voices are either subjugated by force or defiantly stopped to cross the “window” which leaves the public with moulded perspectives or no information about whatsoever happened.
The right to people’s opinion and expression is not a reality without the press people depend greatly on being informed. Journalism in Pakistan has earned the recognition of ‘Fourth pillar of Democracy’ however, I do not hesitate a moment to consider it the only standing pillar in Balochstan the voice of the voiceless.
If you are a journalist in Balochitan expect your every move being scrutinized and monitored silently and receiving threatening phone calls and text messages is not something unusual, journalists are not provided with reasonable conditions of security where they are expected to exercise freedom of speech and present unbiased information to people required by them.
Journalism in Balochistan has claimed many lives, During the first four months of the year 2011, as many 25 journalists, writers, human rights defenders, students, and nationalists and political activists were killed extra judicially or abducted by Frontier Corp (FC) and intelligence agencies, reported by the human rights asia in a report issued on may 3rd.
However this did not stop, a senior journalist and a member of Khuzdar press club Munir Shakir was gunned down in Khuzdar district of Balochistan on the eve of Pakistan independence August 14th 2011 who was associated with professional journalism for the last eight years, later Javed Naseer Rind another baloch journalist/columnist of Daily tawar (Balochi newspaper) was abducted on the night of 9th September 2011 from Hub town district lasbela.
Journalists in various areas of Balochistan were reporting and providing information without any salary involved in passive resistance over the top of it being threatened, this conspiracy against the baloch journalists must stop and be strongly condemned.
In recent years many baloch journalists started online newspaper websites to inform the world about what is happening in Balochistan, however recently the Pakistan government decided to ban 70 balochi newspapers and news portals including The Baloch Hal, Crisis Balochistan, Baloch Voice, Daily asaap, Baloch Warna, and the list goes on. Malik Siraj Akber Editor in Chief the Baloch hal stated “The website has been blocked on the instructions of intelligence wing of Pakistan military by the Pakistan telecommunication authority (PTA), Now they haven’t pointed out which stories are objectionable to them but it’s a very old tactic of a government to block a website, this is very selective and only being done to Baloch newspapers and Baloch websites”
The Pakistan establishment has discouraged the rise of an independent media in Balochistan to deprive the people of its right of expression.