Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) horrified at the preventable death of female reporter of television channel in a tragic accident while covering a political procession
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is horrified at the preventable death of Sadaf Naeem, a female reporter of Channel 5 television channel on October 30 in a tragic accident while covering former prime minister Imran Khan’s Long March.
Naeem’s death should serve as a wake up call to governments, media employers, media organizations, and political parties to end the callous disregard for safety of journalists assigned to cover dangerous assignments such as political processions, civic unrest, crime scenes and even terrorist attacks. While her death was an accident, it could have been prevented if the appropriate safety measures and protocols were in place.
According to Dawn, Naeem died after she was run over by Khan’s container, which serves as the podium to address his supporters, near Sadhoke in the Pakistan’s Punjab province. According to Channel 5, she fell from the container and was crushed by the container.
PPF calls on Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to ensure immediate implementation of safety training and insurance for for media practitioners as required in the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2021. Non implementation of this law since its passage last year was an important contributing factor in the tragic death of Nadeem and for putting countless other journalists in harms way. PPF also demands the government to prepare and release a credible annual report on the safety of media professionals that is required under this law.
PPF calls on political parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, to develop and announce without delay, procedures that will ensure journalists are not put in danger while covering their activities.
PPF urges national media associations including the Pakistan Federal Unions of Journalists; Pakistan Broadcasters Association; Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors; All Pakistan Newspaper Society; Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, and Editors for Safety, to develop effective guidelines for the safety of media while covering civic, political and terrorist activities. These media associations must also establish monitoring mechanisms to ensure that these safety guidelines are adhered to by their members.
PPF stressed that the primary responsibility for the safety of journalists lies with their employers. Under the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2021 employers are legally responsible for providing insurance as well as appropriate “adequate and effective training” to their staff. No media employer in Pakistan is fulfilling those legal obligations.
Naeem’s death is a tragic reminder that simply passing laws will not lead to a safer environment for Pakistani media professionals. All stakeholders including federal and provincial governments, representative associations, courts and media employers must act effectively so that media practitioners do not continue to suffer preventable casualties.