The IFJ has called for urgent action to be taken against those who incited and carried out violent attacks on media companies in Karachi.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemned the attacks, including the assault on 22 August on the ARY News TV station by the cadres of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) political movement. Dozens of attackers armed with rods broke into the office and vandalized doors, windows, furniture and equipment and set fire to vehicles.
According to news reports the violent storming of the station was carried out by MQM supporters Qaumi after their leader Altaf Hussein, currently in exile in London, incited them to attack TV stations during a speech criticizing media for not giving due coverage to their week-long hunger strike against the government’s crackdown against MQM, delivered over the phone and relayed by loudspeakers.
The MQM cades also attacked the media workers and vehicles who went to cover their hunger strike near the Karachi Press Club. Dunya News reporter Fahad Qamar was injured while reporting the scuffle between police and the protestors.
The IFJ has called for a full investigation by the UK authorities in to any incitement to attack journalists and media in Pakistan and that appropriate action is taken to ensure security for media houses and workers.
The PFUJ said: “The PFUJ strongly condemns the attack on different news channels in Karachi and demands the government to take action against MQM leaders and workers who attacked news channels and set media vehicles on fire.”
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “This incitement of violence against media is a serious crime that needs to be dealt immediately with the strongest measures. The IFJ utterly condemns the attack and urges the Pakistan government and UK authorities to investigate and to immediately punish those responsible and ensure security of media houses and the protection of journalists.”