Police Baton-Charge Journalists' Rally in Pakistan


The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) condemns police intervention to disrupt a peaceful protest by

members of the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) outside Pakistan’s Parliament in Islamabad on June 9.


According to the Pakistan Federal

Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ

affiliate, nine journalists were

injured when police baton-charged the rally.


Among the injured were National

Press Club secretary Afzal Butt, RIUJ President Shehryar Khan, RIUJ Finance

Secretary Bilal Dar and journalists Raja Aftab, Mehboob Shah and Khalid



“Journalists have a right to voice

their legitimate concerns through peaceful protest. The use of force by police to

silence such protest violates the right to free expression and to protest,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.


The protest was organised to draw

government attention to the security crisis for journalists reporting in Pakistan’s

war-torn regions, as well as the

wide-scale retrenchment of media workers,

the PFUJ reports.


The PFUJ expressed concern that the

heavy-handed police response reflected a deeper growing attitude of

indifference by government and law enforcement agencies regarding freedom of

expression and the need for journalists to be able to do their work – and to do

so  safely – in order to keep the public



On the same day as the rally, security personnel reportedly opened fire on a

team of journalists travelling in the troubled North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), soon after the journalists had been given

clearance by security officials to enter the Swat Valley

war zone. Two of the team suffered bullet injuries.


“Pakistan’s government and

authorities must immediately act to ensure that security personnel understand

and uphold the right to media freedom and the public’s right to information,” Park said.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide