The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned the attack on the offices of the Sindhi language newspaper, Awami Awaz, in Pakistan's commercial metropolis of Karachi on January 1.
According to information received from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, the attack was carried out by armed activists of the Sindh National Front (SNF). They detained the staff including the managing editor for a length of time and used abusive language against the chief editor, Jabbar Khattak.
The attackers were angry over what they claimed was the newspaper's lack of coverage of SNF statements. But the IFJ warned that acts of intimidation against media provide no solution to editorial disputes which should be dealt with through professional dialogue.
"We fully support of the PFUJ's stance that issues of coverage in the media should be sorted out through available processes of dialogue and exchange of information rather than through the use of force," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White.
The IFJ believes that journalists have the duty to ensure their reports are fair and accurate. This includes the right to reply for all concerned in order to rectify any adverse misrepresentation by the media.
The IFJ has learned that Khattak has been receiving threats from the SNF, complaining about its statements not being published.
"The IFJ has worked with the PFUJ on a comprehensive set of media ethics to guide professional practice in Pakistan," said White. "A media complaints commission is also proposed as a body overseeing the observance of these ethical norms. We urge everyone including editors, political parties and civil society institutions, to use these rules and to ensure that they are strengthened in their implementation".
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries