The IPI global network condemns the murder of Pakistani journalist Hasnain Shah, who was shot and killed Monday by unidentified gunmen outside of Lahore Press Club. IPI demands that authorities thoroughly investigate the case and find the suspects immediately.

Journalist Hasnain Shah was sitting in his car outside of the Lahore Press Club in Lahore, Pakistan when two unidentified gunmen shot and killed him in broad daylight on January 24, according to multiple media reports. According to the report, the murderers fled the scene on motorcycles.

Shah was a crime reporter for Capital TV, an Urdu-language Pakistani private television news channel. He was also a member of the press club.

According to the Express Tribune, an English-language paper in Pakistan, the president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Shehzada Zulfiqar, and the president of the Lahore Press Club, Azam Chaudry, condemned the murder and demanded that officials find and arrest the murderers.

According to IPI’s Death Watch, two journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2021. Shahid Zehri was killed when a grenade was thrown at his car. Muhammed Zada Agra, who reported on politics and corruption, was shot by unidentified gunmen.

Journalists are often targeted for their work in Pakistan, and impunity for crimes against the press remains a systemic problem.

Press freedom in the country is under pressure on various fronts, including through the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), a regulatory body that would be headed by a government official and would have the authority to shut down media organizations, as well as through new social media rules that would expand online censorship.

In December 2021, the government passed the Journalist Protection Act, which promises “to promote, protect and effectively ensure the independence, impartiality, safety, and freedom of expression of journalists and media professionals”. IPI called on the Pakistani government to uphold the spirit of the legislation and drop proposals such as the PMDA.