The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the arrest of over 100 journalists in Pakistan after they clashed with baton-wielding police at a protest over media censorship.
“This brutal and violent attack on our colleagues in Pakistan is a shocking escalation of the suppression of media freedom in Pakistan,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “The government must release these journalists immediately.”
The IFJ has been supporting its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in a campaign against the censorship and shutdown of media outlets in Pakistan since emergency rule was declared on November 3.
The Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) says about 180 journalists, including 12 women, were arrested when they staged their protest as part of a nation-wide protest action organised by the PFUJ to protest media restrictions imposed under the state of emergency. Those arrested include KUJ leaders and many senior journalists.
Witnesses told media that they saw protestors bleeding from head injuries. Reports also indicate that police detained 23 journalists after they tried to hold a rally in the southern city of Hyderabad.
PFUJ affiliate the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists and Punjab Union of Journalists have said that about 800 journalists will protest if their detained colleagues are not released today.
An international mission of IFJ-PFUJ today called on the government of Pakistan to withdraw all post-emergency rule laws hurting press freedom. They met with Pakistan's Caretaker Information Minister Nisar A. Memon to discuss media watchdog organizations' concern about the lack of press freedom in the country.
The delegates joined a rally in Islamabad organised by the PFUJ to protest media curbs. They held an evening conference to approve a declaration demanding the Pakistani government ensure respect for press freedom and withdraw all ordinances introduced after under the imposition of emergency rule, which put restrictions on media.
For more information contact the IFJ at + 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide