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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide