Row between journalists, CPO deepens -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Row between journalists, CPO deepens

By: Shahid Rao

RAWALPINDI — The row between the media community and the police over the “unprofessional” attitude of the City Police Officer (CPO) Rao Muhammad Iqbal Khan towards journalists deepened on Monday when scores of media men took out a protest rally and blocked the city’s busiest Benazir Bhutto Road (BBR) for almost an hour.

Besides a good number of media men, the rally, which started from Rawalpindi Islamabad Press Club (RIPC) and culminated on BBR, was jointly led by Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) President Ashfaq Sajid, General Secretary Jamil Mirza and Crime and Courts Reporters Association (CCRA) President Shahid Malik. The demonstrators, who marched on BBR, held banners and signs reading “Reporting news is not a crime”, “Respect press freedom”, “Dismiss CPO Rao Iqbal”, “Police brutality is unacceptable” “Acquit Baber Malik and News 1 TV channel team of bogus cases” and “Arrest the criminals who looted journalists”.

They also blocked the traffic on BBR, which irked the commuters. While addressing the enraged protesters, RIUJ and CCRA office-bearers said that CPO Rao Iqbal in a bid to save his skin gagged the media by implicating reporters of private TV channels in false cases.

They said that the journalists were being pillaged in broad daylight while police instead of nabbing thieves under the command of CPO Rao Iqbal were providing shelter to the violators of law. They said that the crime rate including car theft, dacoities and drug selling were on the rise in the city.

Journalists were highlighting these issues in their respective newspapers and TV channels, therefore, CPO Rao Iqbal started implicating crime reporters in bogus cases to press their voice just to save his uniform.

On the one hand, CPO Rao Iqbal while adopting good governance policy of CM Punjab had appointed protocol officers in all police stations but on the other, he (CPO) has been putting curbs on media, they alleged. They said that the media men would continue publishing and airing news against police’s illegal acts and no body could usurp this right of freedom.

This illegal and unprofessional attitude of CPO Rao Iqbal towards journalists would not be tolerated at any cost, RUIJ and CCRA office bearers said adding that the journalist would take to the streets and roads if CPO did not refrain pressurizing media men. “Chief Minister (CM) Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Inspector General (IG) Tariq Saleem Dogar should take notice of injustice and dismiss CPO Rao Iqbal Khan immediately” they demanded.

Source: The Nation
Date:3/2/2010