KP journalists continue to brave threats and intimidation
Several journalists in provincial capital have faced attacks, intimidation and violence while performing their duties over past three years; however, all these issues were resolved by the journalist bodies as government to failed to take any action.
The failure to take legal action is resulting into more attacks and threats for journalists.
Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) president Nasir Hussain said that the union has formed a committee to resolve and prevent such issues, which resolves such issues after talking to police.
Mr Hussain said that taking the legal course was a lengthy procedure and such issues are resolved through jirga in Pashtun society. However, he said that at one hand, if union and press clubs were responsible for journalist’s safety while on the other, media houses were also responsible for ensuring their staff security.
Mr Hussain said that media organizations also make annocuments to support to their staff upon their death; however, rarely these annocuments translate into tangible outcome. “These organizations even do not stand with their staff in disputes resulting from reporting,” he said.
On the other hand, in many cases of attacks and threats to journalist, even FIRs are not registered. Similarly, government and media houses have also failed to put in place security precautions while media organizations also fail to register FIRs or help the families in following the cases.
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) figures show that 76 journalists have lost their lives since 2002. About 28 of them lost their lives to bomb blasts. The breakdown showed that 28 reporters were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 21 in Balochistan, five in Punjab, 18 in Sindh and three in Islamabad.
Similarly, journalists faced 384 attacks since 2002; however, majority 264 of them took place from 2012 to 2022. 2021 witnessed 89 such attacks. On the other hand, 45 journalists were kidnapped from 2012 to 2022.
189 journalists faced physical violence and intimidation.
In Peshawar, journalists continued to face violence and harassment from political workers during rallies and gatherings during current year. On June 7, 2022 freelance journalist Iqbal Mamond was subjected to physical violence by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUIF) workers and they also broken his camera.
Iqbal said that when he tried to capture shots of mismanagement in party’s annual gathering, around 10 party workers tried to grab his camera which resulted into breaking of his camera.
He said that at this occasion, his son was also with him and the child started crying after the party workers started torturing him. “I immediately alerted the president of KhUJ and Peshawar Press Club,” he said. He said that despite the torture, he covered the event. Iqbal said that KhUJ and PPC setup a committee to resolve the issue which took up this issue with JUIF leaders. He said that the JUIF leader Haji Jalil Jan visited the PPC and party made a small amount to compensate his loss; however, no action was taken over subjecting him to violence.
Journalists cover bomb blasts, natural disasters and accidents at very less pay and many a time they face physical and financial harm in the course of their work. However, both the authorities as well as the media organizations fail to take any action to compensate journalist losses. However, Peshawar journalists continued to work in these adverse conditions to keep the public inform.
There is an urgent need to legislate ensure protection of journalists and journalist bodies should also take proper action in cases of violence against media workers and extend support to affected journalists.
Similarly, media organizations should also need to take steps for the betterment of their staff and their protection.
Source: TNN Network