Journalists harassed, detained by Pakistan’s investigation agency

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the harassment and detention of two reporters by the state agency in Islamabad, Pakistan on July 21. The IFJ demands action against the officials involved in the harassment and unlawful detention.

Saba Bajeer of Channel 24 TV and Aitzaz Hassan of DawnNews were manhandled and illegally detained for an hour by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where they were on assignment to report an arrest.

The FIA had brought Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafarul Haq Hijazi for a medical check-up after his arrest. Bajeer took photos using her cell-phone when FIA official approached her, grabbed her by the arm and asked her to delete the photos. The FIA official then started pushing Hassan, on whose suggestion Bajeer had proceeded to delete the photos. Hassan's mobile phone and cards were then snatched.

The journalists were taken to an empty room of the PIMS and detained for an hour without giving them access to phone. They were released after other journalists at the venue protested. Hassan had filed an application with the police for legal action against the harassment.

The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the actions of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan in disallowing journalists to report freely on an arrest of public interest, and harassing them by forcing them to delete photographs and detaining them for an hour. This is a violation of the media rights and the IFJ urges the Pakistan government to take action against the officials involved in the incident.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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