Getting trustworthy, independent news out of the tribal region is crucial, as what happens there affects every aspect of Pakistan’s relationship with the US and the war in Afghanistan. Yet the inability, or unwillingness, of the country’s media organizations to give the reporters who work there the training, the tools, and the support they need to do their jobs is making such coverage increasingly unlikely. According to Azhar Zaman, an official at the FATA secretariat, the tribal region stretches over more than 10,000 square miles and is home to more than 5 million people, but has only 310 working journalists—and their ranks are falling even further due to the dangerous nature of the job. As Hamid told me, three reporters left the profession after Atif’s killing. “Some soldiers in warfare do not go with arrows and swords,” he said, “but cameras and ink.”


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Kiran Nazish is an independent journalist. She can be followed @kirannazish.