Jewellers detains Dawn staffer
LAHORE- This newspaper’s photographer, sent to Lahore’s Sarafa Bazar (jewellery market) one afternoon to take some photographs for a forthcoming article, was forced to return the pictures he had taken after traders there initially mistook him for being on the payroll of the Central Board of Revenue (CBR).
The staffer said he identified himself and explained the purpose but despite that the traders did not allow him to carry on with his professional work. In addition, he was also detained for two hours inside a jewellery shop while his film was being developed. The photographer said that as he began taking photographs of the bazar some of the shopkeepers came up to him and asked him to stop. Since some pictures had already been taken, they insisted that he give them the film. The photographer tried to explain to the shopkeepers that the pictures were being taken for a newspaper article and could not in any way go against the traders. Besides, he said, the Sarafa Bazar was not a restricted area where the entry of news photographers was banned. The latter, however, did not listen to any of this and accused the photographer of actually working on behalf of the CBR and as part of the tax survey.
The photographer, however, stood his ground and refused to give the film to the shopkeepers. Then, the Sarafa Bazar traders’ union vice-president, Asghar Butt, called the offices of Dawn and spoke in a most uncouth manner to senior editorial staff. This man, who was so loud as to be incomprehensible, yelled over the telephone that film would not be returned come what may.
In the interest of personal safety, the Dawn photographer gave the film to the obdurate traders. However, he pointed out that the film also contained photographs of many other assignments and whatever was happening was quite uncalled for. In any case, the traders, he said, were adamant and snatched the camera from him and sent the film for development. During this one-hour period the photographer was detained inside one of the shops and not allowed to leave, he said.
“An assignment that should not have taken more than a few minutes ended up taking two hours, and with such harassment,” the photographer said.
Source: The News