Shootings, impunity: ‘extreme fear’ stalks Pakistan’s media

ISLAMABAD, April 23, 2014 (AFP) – The shooting of one of Pakistan’s most famous TV presenters has highlighted the climate of “extreme fear” facing the country’s media, journalists say, as hardliners of different stripes seek to silence dissenting voices. Hamid Mir, host of Capital Talk, a primetime current affairs show on the Geo channel, was shot at least three times in his car in Karachi on Saturday.

It is not the first time the stocky, moustached Mir has survived an attempt on his life: last year police defused a bomb attached to his car in Islamabad.

Last month another high-profile presenter, Raza Rumi, survived a murder bid by gunmen in the eastern city of Lahore — though his driver was not so lucky. He was cut down in a hail of bullets.

“It was so traumatic to see him die in front of me, and that is my major worry — I don’t want anybody to die because somebody is going attack me again,” Rumi told AFP from a Western country where he has gone with his family for safety.

Pakistan is regarded as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media, with more than 50 journalists killed since 2001, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) campaign group.

For years reporters have lived with threats from mili