Mediapersons covering sit-ins face exhaustion
ISLAMABAD: Nosheen Yousuf is suffering from fever and throat infection for the last three days.
The 34-year-old has been covering the sit-ins from the Constitution Avenue for Geo News by remaining among the participants for almost 12 hours daily.
“I am a professional journalist and always ready to perform my duty in any condition as it is the demand of my job. But it is my first experience to work in such an unhygienic condition,” Ms Yousuf added.
Know more: PAT workers lack facilities at new sit-in site
She said the problems of the protesters and the mediapersons were increasing day by day due to the smell of the garbage, adding thousands of people were residing under the open sky and using the same place as lavatories.
“The doctor advised me to stay away from the sit-ins and take proper rest as it is necessary for my health. But I cannot stay at home because my office needs my services in the present circumstances,” she added.
Like Ms Nosheen, scores of other reporters, photographers, camerapersons and producers of different news organisations have also been performing duties at the sit-ins of the PTI and PAT for the last over 10 days.
According to the representatives of different media organisations, it was becoming very difficult for them to perform duty at the sites of the sit-ins due to the unhygienic conditions.
Bilal Khan, 27, is covering the sit-ins as a cameraman for the Asian Television Press Network (ATPN).
“I am unable to perform my duty due to fever and chest infection. It is also very difficult for me to get leave from my office during the ongoing situation.” Mr Bilal said he remained alert for 24 hours and spent almost 14 hours daily at the sites of the two sit-ins.
“I wish the negotiations between the government and the protesters remain successful because it is very difficult for me to continue working in such unhygienic conditions,” he added.
Qamar Zaman, 34, is reporting about the sit-ins for the Express Tribune newspaper. He has also contacted throat infection.
“Though I just visit the site to cover the speeches of the PTI and the PAT chiefs, it becomes very difficult for me to stay in the crowd for around three to four hours on a daily basis.”
He said as it was difficult to breathe among the participants, he had started using a mask to avoid infection and dust allergy.
Ghulamuddin, 36, is covering the sit-ins as a producer for Samaa TV.
“I stay 10 to 12 hours among the crowd for arranging interviews of the participants for the current affairs programmes of my news organisation. It is very dangerous to work in the unhygienic conditions.”
He said he was not feeling well due to fever and gastroenteritis but had no other option but continue working.
Khurram Butt, 39, is also covering the sit-ins as photographer for an Urdu language newspaper, Jehan Pakistan.
“I have been covering the sit-ins for over 10 days. There is shortage of oxygen due to the presence of a large number of people.” He said he was suffering from headache and cholera.
He said there was a lack of drinking water at the site while the organisers of the PTI sit-in did not arrange even a bottle of water for the mediapersons.
Raza Bangash, 31, is covering the sit-ins for DawnNews. “I have been performing my duty for almost 12 hours.” He said he was also suffering from fever and chest infection.
He said journalism was his passion but it was very difficult to work in such unhygienic conditions.
When contacted, CDA spokesman Asim Khichi said the sanitary workers were performing their duty to clean the area as much as possible.
Dr Sharif Astori of Polyclinic hospital told Dawn that hundreds of people, including journalists, had been visiting the hospital with the complaints of high temperature, flu, headache, throat and chest infections since the sit-ins started.
He said it was necessary for the mediapersons to use masks during their stay among the participants of the sit-ins.
Dr Astori also said the journalists needed to take proper rest otherwise it would be difficult for them to continue their duty.