Assault on journalists condemned
LAHORE, Sept 18: The thrashing meted out to three journalists by police and the subsequent action taken by the Punjab government to take the channel off air were condemned by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the PPP. In a statement on Monday, the HRCP termed it yet another ‘blatant effort’ to curb free expression in the country and muzzle dissenting opinions. It said the action taken by the Punjab chief minister in suspending the police officers concerned did not address the core issue of mounting efforts to restrict press freedom.
Quoting another case in which Rawalpindi police implicated a journalist in a triple-murder case, the HRCP said such attempts were a part of the same design to prevent citizens from learning the truth. The reporter had been filling stories regarding police inefficiency and incompetence. In 2006 alone, HRCP has recorded at least 20 instances of intimidation of media professionals. “The HRCP reiterates its warnings that such ugly attempts to restrict media freedom can have negative impact,” the statement concluded. PPP: Punjab PPP Information Secretary Farzana Raja strongly condemned the police action. In a statement, she said the government was already trying to pressure the opposition parties and now they had started a campaign against journalists. She said police had not been given billions in allocations to thrash journalists or implicate them in false cases.