PFUJ concerned over violence against journalists. -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PFUJ concerned over violence against journalists.

KARACHI (PPI), July 01 2006: Pakistan Federal Union of journalists termed the fresh wave of violence against Journalists including Thursday’s attack on the Peshawar Press Club, detention of three reporters in Khyber Agency, threats to journalists from political administration as well from extremist groups, as serious threat to Freedom of the Press. President of the PFUJ, Pervez Shaukat and Secretary General Mazhar Abbas, in a joint statement Friday strongly condemned the attack on Peshawar Press Club on Thursday, by the activists of the Pakistan Muslim League and fully backed the demand of PPC and Khyber Union of journalists, Khuj for the arrest of those responsible.

They said that the attackers were carrying weapons and reporters covering the press conference were threatened. It is the responsibility of the NWFP government to take action against the attackers and their leaders. PFUJ leaders also condemned the detention of three journalists Khalil Afredi of daily Khabrain, Sudhir Afredi of daily Frontier Post and Abu Zar Afredi of daily Express detained on Monday by the political administration for interviewing a wanted cleric Mangal Afredi, head of Lashkare-Islami.

They were kept under detention for some 24 hours and released after the intervention of some elders. “Its a new wave of violence against the journalists in NWFP, Balochistan and Sindh, though there have also been incidents of violence against newsmen in Punjab as well,” they said.

Similarly, a reporter of private TV channel Aaj, Asif Wadood was threatened for leaking NWFP budget. He was summoned to the Chief Minister Secretariat to reveal the source but he refused. Earlier, two journalists Qazi Nasrullah of daily Mashriq, and Qazi Rauf of daily Express, were threatened by Lashkar-e-islami, for reporting in favour of the government policies.

They were told that their houses could be demolished and fine of Rs one million could be imposed on them if they did not stop publishing pro-government stories. PFUJ has also received a report that a Journalist from a tribal area has taken shelter in Karachi, after receiving similar kind of threats from another group. According to reports received by PFUJ, situation is not different in Balochistan also. e recent statement on the floor of the Balochistan Assembly, from an opposition leader that they would burnt the newspaper offices if they did not gave coverage to them should be taken seriously in the prevailing situation of the Province.

Journalists reporting on the army or paramilitary operation in Dera Bugti and in some other areas of Balochistan have often been summoned to the offices of the security agencies and were threatened. Some of the journalists have even been left their houses and are staying in Quetta. There are also reports that the Provincial authorities were also trying to bribe the newspapers and Journalists to get favorable coverage on the one hand and to ensure blackout of the coverage of the opposition groups on the other.

The fresh wave of violence came weeks after the brutal murder of reporter Hayatullah Khan, killing of cameraman Munir Sangi and release of reporter Mukehs Reupta and cameraman Sanjay Kumer after three months illegal detention by intelligence agencies. PFUJ vowed to defend the Freedom of Press at all cost and appealed the journalists to unite against these threats and also be more responsible in reporting.
Source: The Nation
Date:7/1/2006