Pakistan: Media personnel beaten to prevent coverage of student protest

Seventeen media workers were assaulted and their equipment seized by the private guards of Agriculture University Faisalabad, while they tried to cover the incident of expelled students, who were not being allowed to enter the varsity premises.  The incident took place on June 20 in Faisalabad city in the Punjab province Pakistan.

Those who were assaulted and man lured included reporters Mudasir Nazeer and Yousuf Cheema both reporters of Samaa TV channel and Shehroz Ebad of Dunya TV.   The cameramen who were manhandled included Rizwan Sabri of Samaa TV, Rana Munir ARY TV, Muhammad Usman of Express TV, Muhammad Javed of Metro TV, Raheel Asghar of Aaj TV, Arsalan of AbbTakk TV, Waqas Shiraz of Neo TV, Zubair of Dunya TV, Kashif, Dawn News. Digital Satellite News Gathering-DSNG staff Muhammad Umair, Aamir, Haider Ali,  and Nadeem, the  driver of Samaa DSNG were among the assaulted and injured media personnel.

Nazeer told Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) that they had arrived to cover the incident of expelled students, who were not being allowed to enter the university and as they started the recording outside the varsity premises, the guards attacked and beat them with punches and  kicks.

According to students that they had criticised the university administration on social media therefore they were expelled on June 11 and they tried to submit appeal against the decision.

“The Guards not only beat us but damaged our vans, cameras and other equipment with sticks, while some media professionals were thrown on road and brutally beaten” added Nazeer.

According to university Public Relation Officer Dr. Jalal Arif said it was a sad incident and university hasd formed a committee to probe the incident and stern action will be taken if guards were involved in violence against media personnel.

Amir Sohail, General Secretary Punjab Union of Journalist told PPF, “We condemn the act of violence and demand Chief Minister Punjab to take stern actions against the attackers and varsity administration”. He told Faisalabad Police refused to register the case.

President of Faisalabad Union of Journalist (FUJ), Nadeem Javed demanded the government to bring to justice those involved in the attack on media. “Since yesterday night police has been asking journalists not to nominate vice chancellor as accused and were refusing to register the case” alleged Javed.

Journalists and media workers of Faisalabad held protest demonstration followed and have threatened of countrywide protest if attackers are not arrested.

On June 11 university administration rusticated three students named Zubair Iqbal, Mohammad Asfandyar Jawaid and Ghulam Jillani, Umer Bilal, Mubashir Ali and Ahsan Safdar for posting comments against inefficiency of university administration on Facebook.