The IPI global network strongly condemns the attack against Pakistani news anchor Marvia Malik, who was shot outside her home last month. We urge authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into this case to ensure those responsible for this attack are brought to justice. All journalists in Pakistan must be able to do their jobs freely and safely. 

On February 23, Malik, Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor, was shot outside her home by two men in the Lahore district of Punjab province, according to DAWN. Malik filed an official case with the local police and noted in her statement that she had received a series of threatening calls and messages from unknown numbers prior to the attack. Malik told DAWN she believes her activism on behalf of the transgender community in Pakistan played a major role in the attack and said that she had temporarily left Lahore out of fear for her life.

Malik became Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor at the age of 21 after graduating from journalism school, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

“Pakistani authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the attack on Marvia Malik”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “Pakistan is a dangerous country for independent media and journalists often face physical attacks and threats. We ask the government to take concrete steps to protect journalists and end the culture of impunity that enables brazen assaults against journalists. Bringing perpetrators to justice is critical to ending these attacks and safeguarding what remains of press freedom in Pakistan.”

At least 13 journalists experienced physical, verbal, or online attacks in Pakistan between April and September 2022 alone, according to IPI monitoring. The government has yet to conduct independent investigations into the 2022 killings of Pakistani journalists Zia-Ur-Rehman Farooqi, fatally shot in the Khanewal district in Punjab province on April 28; Ishtiaq Sodharo, fatally shot in the Sindh province in southeast Pakistan on July 1; and Muhammad Younis, fatally shot in the Jhang district in Punjab province on August 27.