(RSF/IFEX) - Twenty-six IFEX members and the PFUJ appeal to the leaders of the Taliban, to the jihadist movements and to Al-Qaeda in Pakistan to put a stop to all further suicide bombings in public gatherings:
We, the undersigned journalists of Pakistan and defenders of free expression around the world, condemn with the utmost firmness all recourse to suicide bombings in the middle of crowds of civilians that result in the deaths of innocent people including media workers.
In April, two fellow-journalists working for Samaa TV were killed in the space of two days in suicide bombings in Pakistan. They were both covering stories at the time and paid with their lives for doing their duty to report the news. These bombings have made Pakistan one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press.
As the Pakistani Muslim scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said in March, there is no place for the martyr in Islam. In a 600-page fatwa, he did not hesitate to describe the perpetrators and instigators of suicide bombings as enemies of Islam.
"They cannot claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim umma [Islamic community]," Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri said. "No, they become the heroes of hellfire and they are leading towards hellfire. There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered jihad [holy struggle]."
As journalists, we have to cover official events first hand but that does not mean that we support any specific politician or public figure. By targeting large gatherings, the organisations that use suicide bombings are endangering the lives of innocent civilians and reporters. This is not acceptable.
We appeal with the utmost urgency to the leaders of the Taliban in Pakistan, to the jihadist movements and to Al-Qaeda in Pakistan to put a stop to all further suicide bombings in public gatherings.
We can no longer accept that our fellow journalists lose their lives.
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Comité por la Libre Expresión - C-Libre
Ethiopian Freepress Journalists' Association
Exiled Journalists Network
Independent Journalism Center - Moldova
Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety
Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information
Institute of Mass Information
Journaliste en danger
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Rights Agenda
National Union of Somali Journalists
Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d'édition et de création
Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF)
Pacific Islands News Association
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms - MADA
Southeast Asian Press Alliance
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC
Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)