IFJ condemns attack on newspaper offices
TORONTO, January 04 2006: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Tuesday January 3 expressed deep concern about the concerted attacks on newspaper offices in Pakistan.
IFJ President, Christopher Warren joined IFJ affiliate Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), as well as the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), Sindhi Media Forum (SMF) and the Karachi Press Club (KPC), in strongly condemning the attack on newspaper offices and burning of newspapers in Karachi and other parts of Sindh.
On December 23, 2005, a group of armed men threw a petrol bomb into the offices of the Sukkur edition of the Sindhi-language daily newspaper Khabroon, setting the reception area on fire. The attackers reportedly hurled threats at the newspaper staff and fired shots in the air. The assailants are believed to be Sindhi nationalists.
The attack is the next incident in the growing unrest over the Kalabagh Dam issue. Prior to the attack, the entire staff of Khabroon had resigned over what they termed the ‘misuse’ of public money by the Federal Ministry of Information who had issued advertisements in favour of the controversial Kalabagh Dam. There are also reports that the information ministry is using its ‘influence’ particularly on the Sindhi newspapers to initiate a pro-dam campaign.
This government campaign in support of Kalabagh Dam had seriously threatened the life and security of journalists, an IFJ release said.
The resignation of the entire staff of Khabroon was an unprecedented incident in the press history of Pakistan, showing how touchy the ‘dam issue’ was in this province, the release said.
Journalist organisations in Pakistan have also appealed to the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) to take notice of the decision of the management of daily Khabrein, which had moved the court in support of the Kalabagh Dam and had thus taken a partisan role on a political issue. Such a move has threatened the security of the journalists of newspapers in Sindh. “The attack on newspapers and journalists is an attack on the profession and freedom of expression. We join our Pakistani colleagues in raising a voice against this assault on press freedom, ” said the IFJ president.
“The IFJ appeals to the people of Sindh in general and to political parties and nationalist groups in particular to refrain from targeting newspapers or journalists as it could go against the interests of Sindh and is against freedom of the press which is one of the foundations of democracy,” said Warren.
Source: Business Recorder