Journalists attacked covering protests in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in raising concern for the treatment of journalists by law enforcement agencies in Karachi on February 2. The IFJ and PFUJ call on the Pakistani government to investigate the incident and take immediate steps to guarantee the safety of the media community.

On February 2, at least 6 journalists and media workers were attacked as they covered a protest at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. The media were covering a protest by Pakistan International Airport (PIA) employees. Police attended the protest and attempted to break it up with batons and water cannons. There were also reports that bullets were fired into the crowd. A number of protesters were also injured in the incident.

The journalists and media workers were injured with a number requiring hospital treatment.  According to reports, Dawn News’ cameraman Shafi Dilshad was left were a fractured hand while cameramen of Express News Rafiq Hassan, and Amjad Iqbal of Waqt News were hit with sticks; Ary News cameraman Hanif, AFP’s photographer Rizwan Tabassum, Dunya News’ reporter Naveed Kamal and Channel 92’s reporter Samar Abbas were also injured.

The PFUJ, and affiliated unions, held protests across Pakistan in Karachi, Lahore, Sukkur, Peshawar, Islamabad, Abbottabad, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Nawabshah, Larkana, Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas to condemn the torture on journalists and to demand to arrest the culprits.

The PFUJ said: “Journalists have been facing tough situation while performing their duties in Pakistan. We warn concerned quarters to take measures to stop such incidents in future; demand arrest of the culprits; and financial support to injured journalists for treatment.”

The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the latest attack on journalists in Pakistan. This incident highlights the deteriorating safety situation for the country’s media. The government has made promises the address and change the safety situation, but it must join media owners and journalist organisations to change the culture of violence against the media in Pakistan.”

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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