Safety threats, impunity and professionalism: Journalists' dilemma in Pakistan

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


This study primarily aims to examine the impact of contextual factors on journalists' safety in Pakistan. The study also analyses the ways safety risks and Pakistan's climate of impunity affect professional journalism in the country. Data have been gathered using the quantitative method of survey and the qualitative method of in-depth interviews. Findings reveal that all surveyed male and female journalists (100%) view the factors of government's and military's threats and pressure; impunity; the country's socio-political situation and laws, religious extremism and social conservatism as most crucial in affecting their safety. On the other hand, 76% and 91% journalists consider a lack of safety training and ineffectiveness of measures as important aspects causing safety risks to them respectively. Drawing on the social responsibility theory, this study suggests that the Pakistani journalists are considerably unable to do 'objective and investigative reporting' freely, truthfully and accurately because of diverse safety threats emerging from internal political and ethnic conflicts; government's, military's and media owners' pressure; law and order situation; religious extremism; conservatism and impunity. Hence, the study questions the notion of media as watch dog and media as the mirror of society in the prevalence of news culture that lacks truthfulness and accuracy. The study invokes for creating professionalism and fostering safe and free journalism necessary for truthful, accurate and impartial reporting in the sake of public's interest and their right to know in Pakistan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-578
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sociology & Anthropology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Journalists' Safety
  • Impunity
  • Professionalism


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