Journalists condemn colleague’s killing, attacks on media offices

PESHAWAR: Journalist organisations in different cities staged rallies against attacks on media houses by protesters.

The Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) on Saturday condemned attacks on the offices of the ARY and Aaj News in Sindh and sought registration of first information report (FIR) against deputy commissioner and an additional assistant commissioner Peshawar in a case wherein a journalist was killed during the anti-encroachment campaign in the city. The KhUJ members, led by its president Saiful Islam Saifi, staged a rally in front of the Peshawar Press Club and condemned attacks on the TV channels in Sindh. They also demanded the provincial government to arrest those involved in the attacks.

The journalists also demanded registration of FIR against Deputy Commissioner Riaz Mehsud and Additional Assistant Commissioner Mir Khawas in the case of a journalist’s killing during the anti-encroachments drive in the city.

They said that a senior reporter of the Daily Times, Asad Khan, was seriously injured during anti-encroachments campaign the other day. Later, he succumbed to his injuries. Chanting anti-administration slogans, the KhUJ office-bearers said that a case should be registered against the deputy commissioner and additional assistant commissioner in this regard.

Our Lahore correspondent adds: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Saturday organised demonstrations against recent attacks on journalists and the media houses.

Strongly condemning the attacks, they termed these efforts to curb freedom of expression.

In Lahore, a demonstration was held outside Lahore Press Club (LPC). Journalists from print and electronic media chanted slogans and condemned attacks on journalists and media organizations and demanded the government to take action against those involved.

Lahore Press Club President Shahbaz Mian and other elected representatives of journalists spoke on the occasion and demanded the government provide security to journalists and media organisations. He said journalists were performing their duties and any effort to deter them from performing their job was highly condemnable.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave concerns over the attack on media organisations and journalists on Friday by mobs protesting the execution of Mumtaz Qadri.The commission demanded that those instigating and carrying out the violence to intimidate the media must be brought to justice.

According to a statement issued on Saturday, the HRCP welcomed the condemnation of these attacks by the prime minister, Punjab and Sindh chief ministers and other officials and their promise to protect press freedom, but said mere words could not assuage the fears of Pakistani media which had been under attack from many quarters for years.

“The attacks on the media in Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore on Friday are indeed attempts to curb freedom of expression. This is not the first time that the quarters wishing to dictate through violence what the media ought or ought not to cover have struck.” “The HRCP is strongly opposed to any attempt by state or non-state actors to influence or harass the media into submission. Friday’s attacks must receive more than mere condemnation from the official quarters.”

The statement also called for taking steps to ensure security for media in consultation with media and journalists’ organisations.

“The media organizations and journalists and the larger civil society should close their ranks against new threats in addition to the many perils they already face on account of their work,” the HRCP said.

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