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IFJ condemns "cold-blooded" murder of journalist

(IFJ/IFEX) - 6 December 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Pakistani authorities to hunt down the killers of journalist Altaf Chandio, who was shot dead by gunmen at his home in Sindh on Sunday.

"This cold-blooded murder must be thoroughly investigated and the killers brought to justice," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The journalist community in Pakistan is shocked by this latest attack and there is widespread concern that many more reporters and editors are at risk."

Media reports say that Altaf Chandio, the president of the Mirpurkhas press club in Sindh and bureau chief of the private Sindhi language channel AWAZ (Voice), was gunned down outside his house by unidentified attackers. They knocked at his door and shot him as he answered it. He was fatally injured and died on the way to hospital.

The murder of Chandio led to a furious reaction from journalists in Sindh who went on strike and blocked the roads to protest, according to reports from the region.

Police are investigating the murder but have not yet revealed the motive for the killing. The IFJ says Pakistan is the most dangerous country for journalists in 2010, with a record of 11 journalists and media personnel who lost their lives so far in targeted killings.

"This is a tragic record and we urge the Government of Pakistan to put the protection of media higher on its agenda," added White. "The journalists of Sindh and across Pakistan are rightly angry that there has not been an effective response by the authorities to the wave of violence against journalists and media. They must act quickly to protect our colleagues and to eliminate the threat of impunity in the killing of journalists."
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