In a recent index presented by the Reporters Without Borders association, Pakistan – along with Syria, Somalia, Bulgaria, Greece, the United States and Japan among other countries – was listed as one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work in. Falling at 158th out of 180 on the Press Freedom Index, Pakistan is indicated to be a hotbed of peril and uncertainty for journalists while Balochistan is labeled as the epicenter of political commotion that, more often than not, engulfs the lives of underpaid and overworked journalists. In 2013, seven reporters were killed in the line of duty which was described by the media watchdog group as a result brought forth by the “government’s unwillingness to administer justice”.

Despite enunciating support for a free and protected press, the government has failed to address the mounting number of attacks on journalists. In addition to extremist violence against journalists, intelligence agencies have been complicit in the silencing of political dissent. It was only last year in March when the Prime Minister’s government maintained that it would implement legislation in favor of the press under the U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity but they remained, as almost always, hollow promises.

Whether it is the United States hounding Edward Snowden for leaking classified reports on surveillance that violates citizens’ privacy or China’s imprisoning dissident bloggers and reporters, it is obvious that national security is often used as a shallow pretext to stifle a vocal and dedicated press around the world. In elementary terms, it is sheer hypocrisy to claim democratic values all the while turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the reporters who put their lives on the line in order to reach the masses. We must stop taking these men and women for granted.