Who Killed Journalist Zeeshan Ashraf Butt in Pakistan?

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO
Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on Friday urged the authorities in Pakistan to bring to trial the killer of Zeeshan Ashraf Butt, a reporter who worked for the local Urdu language newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt.

Butt was shot in the town of Begowalal in the east of Pakistan’s Punjab Province on 27 March.

“I condemn the killing of Zeeshan Ashraf Butt,” said the Director-General. “It is essential for the protection of journalists that the authorities bring the culprit of this crime to trial. Impunity must not be allowed to embolden those who resort to violence to restrict press freedom and freedom of expression.”

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Meanwhile, The New York Times has quoted the police that said a local politician in the eastern Punjab province had shot and killed the journalist before fleeing the scene.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – which works for press freedom all over the world – has condemned Butt’s fatal shooting by the politician and urged the Pakistani authorities to arrest those responsible.

UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity-building and a range of actions, notably the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

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The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity was endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board on 12 April 2012.

The Plan was prepared during the 1st UN Inter-Agency Meeting on this issue, convened by the Director General of UNESCO at the request of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom.

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Rakesh Raman