IFJ Calls On Pakistan Parties To Respect Protesting Journalists

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges

Pakistan’s political parties to ensure their members refrain from abuse of

journalists who have voiced strong objection to obstruction of broadcasts by

GEO TV and ARY News since early August 8.

 

Journalists

in Karachi and elsewhere in the country conducted rallies on August 9 to

protest blocks on the two cable television channels following the channels’

reporting of a protest against Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Britain

on August 7. Further protests are expected today.

 

While the

channels are now airing in some parts of the country, blocks on broadcasts have

particularly affected Karachi

and interior Sindh.

 

GEO TV reported on its website that

copies of Jang newspaper (which is associated with GEO) were burnt today

near Dhabeji, east of Karachi,

after a delivery van driver was assaulted by unknown armed men. Police have

reportedly declined to act on the assault.

 

Threats have

also reportedly been made against the two stations. The threats are said to

have come from some members of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

 

It is

reported that graffiti (or “wall chalking”) in Karachi

has expressed opposition to the stations’ coverage of Zardari’s visit to Europe while the country contends with a nation-wide humanitarian

disaster in the wake of extreme flooding over the past two weeks.

 

“The IFJ

urges Pakistan’s Government

and telecommunications authorities to promptly reverse restrictions on

television broadcasts and refrain from further obstruction, especially in view

of the critical need for Pakistan’s

population to be kept well informed about the country’s unfolding emergency,”

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White

said.

 

The furore

over the stations’ coverage followed an incident in Birmingham on August 7 when a protester

hurled shoes at Zardari during a PPP event.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific