‘Honor killings’ found dishonorable


Under new legislation, perpetrators of “honor killings” in Pakistan will no longer be able to walk free if pardoned by the victims’ family. Honor killings, or the killing of a relative (usually female) who has brought dishonor upon his or her family, have risen in Pakistan with more than 1,000 documented cases in the past year.

After a series of gruesome honor killings and the death of the social celebrity Qandeel Baloch, legislators closed the loophole that allowed families forgive perpetrators and pardon them with no jail time or punishment. Now, all perpetrators will face a mandatory jail sentence of 25 years and will only be pardoned if they face the death penalty — they will still be forced to serve 25 years.

The news media account of the new legislation has effectively shown the impact of the social media and the average citizen to get the law changed. The legislation underscores a major step in the right direction for social justice and the heavy impact that exposure has on influencing government entities.

Furthermore, news media outlets stated that the law is one small step to conquering the honor killings and the rooted traditions that come with it. Because these killings usually come with acceptance and approval, it will take much more than a law to deconstruct the idea that killing for “family honor” is wrong, especially because many cases of honor killing go undocumented.

On the other hand, while news media were well-sourced with opinions of people against these killings, the perspective and justification for the honor killings were minimal. Especially reading news articles from across the world where the culture is different, it is important for news coverage to explain alternative views. Without fully understanding why the culture promotes the killing of a relative, one is unable to comprehend the story in its entirety.