Why are journalists harassed while covering political and religious gatherings
It was May 9. We went near Qala Bala Hessar for routine reporting where the angry protesters already there were protesting. Meanwhile, the Edhi ambulance was set on fire by the protesters, which was captured by the camera. The person went near the ambulance, but the angry protestors holding Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf flags in their hands surrounded the camera person and denied coverage.
Zakirullah has been working as a reporter with the private television channel “Dunya News” in Peshawar for the past several years.
He says that on that day the DCNGs of several media houses were standing on the assembly side and the police were also there who were shelling the protesters with tear gas while he and his cameraman Azizullah were doing their duties standing among the protesters. were performing
According to Zakir, it was a very difficult time: “Azizullah was surrounded by angry protesters who snatched his camera and beat him up. When I got there, Azizullah’s clothes were also torn and he looked quite scared. ” According to him, he spoke to the protestors with great difficulty and left on the condition that they were not filmed because they were on the streets against the arrest of their leader. But that situation is still on his mind. is riding because anything could have happened to them that day.
According to Zakirullah, since a journalist has the responsibility to cover political rallies, demonstrations and other events, there are often situations where the journalist feels unsafe but has to go there and fulfill his responsibility. Faces these kinds of incidents.
“We knew that it was not good for our safety to go and cover in the middle of the angry protestors, but on that day the situation turned out to be such that we were surrounded by the angry protestors and we had to face harassment.” Zakirullah said
Zeeshan Kakakhel is associated with 92 News (Peshawar) as a reporter and recently faced harassment during the inauguration of a political party. He said that not long ago in a private wedding hall in Peshawar, the inauguration ceremony of a new political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Parliamentary Party, was held under the leadership of former Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak, who parted ways with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He also reached there to do: “As soon as I reached the hall, I started making footage with my mobile phone, while some people dressed in plain clothes forbade me to use mobile phones inside the hall and stopped me from covering the mobile phone. “On the reaction, the mentioned persons threw me out of the event.” On that day, he was also treated like this with a few other journalists.
According to Zeeshan, all his data was deleted and the mobile was returned to him. Later on the intervention of the officials of Peshawar Press Club, the matter was dismissed, but they still do not understand why such an attitude was taken with other journalists including him in this event, because as journalists they were fulfilling their responsibility.
According to him, journalists themselves face risks in such events, but due to the policies of the newsrooms, journalists are forced to risk their lives to report the news, in which they also face harassment. Is
In this regard, the spokesperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Parliamentarian, Ziaullah Bangash, said that his party had not invited any media organization to cover the event because according to him, it was a personal event, while the above-mentioned journalist did not attend the event. I was doing coverage without permission so the management banned them from making footage without permission.
He said that after the incident, a discussion was held with Peshawar Press Club President Arshad Aziz Malik and other officials and it was made clear to them that the issue was coverage without permission and according to ethics, anyone should shoot footage of an event. Can’t create without permission.
According to Peshawar Press Club General Secretary Irfan Musazai, harassment and torture of media workers by political and religious parties or their workers is illegal, while Peshawar Press Club has always strongly condemned such actions.
He said that Peshawar Press Club has been organizing various workshops for a long time in which media workers have been trained on how to protect themselves while covering political rallies, bomb blasts and other dangerous events. Will make sure to report.
According to Musa Zai, often media workers also put themselves in danger in the cycle of breaking news, due to which such incidents occur: Whenever a journalist is harassed by a political or religious party or activists; So the Press Club has raised its voice against it and often such cases are settled amicably.
On the other hand, in response to the question that the provincial government is taking measures to protect journalists covering political and religious gatherings, Director General Information Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Imran said that the provincial government is taking measures to protect journalists. Is. Efforts are also on by the Information Department to pass the Journalists Protection Act as it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the protection of journalists.
He said: “We are still ready for the Journalists’ Association to consult us for the approval of the said Act, and make suggestions so that the Act can be passed by the Assembly as soon as possible.”
According to him, the provincial government had approved the Journalists’ Endowment Fund Rules in the past for the welfare of journalists, under which, apart from other compensations, the families of journalists who lost their lives in terrorist incidents will be given Rs. Financial assistance of two lakh rupees will be given to disabled journalists