In his speech – reproduced below courtesy of WAN – Sethi, who has been imprisoned three times for carrying out his work as a journalist, said he was one of four Pakistani editors on the Taliban’s hitlist in the country – the other three have fled.
Sethi’s speech was succeeded by an update on press freedom worldwide, following news from WAN-IFRA that 88 journalists have been killed since the start of 2009.
Sitting in the audience I have never felt so lucky to be a journalist working the UK – a Sri Lankan journalist next to me asked whether journalists face the same death threats and persecution in the UK as in his country. Calls for libel reform and threats of gagging aside, I felt very fortunate in my answer.
Chris Elliott sums it up in his Guardian write-up of the event, which opened the conference:
“[D]eath is the 901st delegate sitting quietly in this vast conference room. Many of the delegates are taking a break from their daily existence of avoiding bombs, bullets and, with luck, just beatings or imprisonment. For a hack working in the UK and whose legitimate worries are the libel laws it is a humbling experience.”