The International Federation of Journalists today vigorously condemned a deadly bomb attack on the Peshawar Press Club in Pakistan and warned that it is a sign of a new “war on media” by political extremists.
Four people died in yesterday’s suicide bombing outside the Press Club in Peshawar and 20 others were injured.
“This targeted attack, far from the frontline of conflict, illustrates that the war on media by extremists is being taken into the heart of the cities,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “The government must spare no effort in finding those responsible.”
The IFJ is backing the demands of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and its calls for action to find those responsible.
The bombing could have been far worse. The bomb went off after a suicide bomber trying to enter the building was stopped by security guards, one of whom died in the blast. A large number of journalists inside the club attending a press conference of a provincial minister were unharmed.
According to Yousaf Ali, secretary-general of the Khyber Union of Journalists, one press club worker died and five employees and a cameraman of The News were also injured.
In a statement yesterday the PFUJ said the attack exposed the hypocrisy of terrorist groups who say they are fighting war for the cause of Islam.
“Islam is a religion of peace whereas these people are enforcing their own rule and indulging in terrorism for other motives," they said.
The IFJ says the Peshawar attack was a new front in attacks on media. Journalists and media staff in the North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan and other conflict areas have previously been threatened to stop journalists reporting on acts of terrorism. The PFUJ says government officials are indifferent to the plight of journalists citing as an example the fact that security jackets sent six months ago by the IFJ for use by Pakistan journalists had been impounded by officials and had still not been released.
The IFJ backs the PFUJ call on government to ensure the safety of media workers and media being targeted.
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries around the world