FN Threat Data Analysis – May 2020
A second journalist was murdered in Sindh province this year as eight cases of different threat categories against journalists were monitored and documented during May 2020 by Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, award-winning civil liberty organization Freedom Network is managing the programme since its start in 2016.
Islamabad-based Freedom Network is assisting journalists at risks in four different categories in partnership with seven press clubs in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad, Peshawar, Landikotal besides Khuzdar in Balochistan under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network programme since February 2016.
Punjab leads the table with three cases while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces share two cases each while the eight case was reported from Azad Jammu and Kashmir targeting journalists for their works.
MURDERED: Zulfikar Ali Mandhrani, who worked for Sindhi-language newspaper Daily Koshish, of bullet wounds on 26 May 2020 after shot and wounded by unknown men in Garhi Khairo taluka in Jacobabad district in Sindh province. Mandrani was found critically injured in a house locked from outside. He succumbed to his injuries in a Larkana district hospital. According to local journalists in Jacobabad, Mandrani was shot by armed assailants in Dodapur area. Dr Yousuf Bhutto, who conducted autopsy of the body of the journalist, was quoted as saying that Zulfiqar sustained two gunshots to his head, while there were torture marks on his back as well.
The police arrested two suspects and believed the motive behind Mandrani’s murder was personal rather than professional. However, police registered the case FIR No 10/2020 on 27 May 2020 under section 302, 392, 114,33&, 148 and 149 of Pakistan Penal Code at Dodapur Police station in Jacobabad district after protest by local journalists.
Local journalists claimed Mandrani was receiving continuous threats from drug mafia. Raheem Jam Mandrani, the deceased’s father, blamed local drug peddlers for son’s murder. “My son had been receiving death threats from the suspects for several days before his murder,” claimed Raheem. “He was returning home when he was kidnapped and taken to the place where he was shot.”
The journalist is survived by his wife, six sons and two daughters.
Click below link to read April 2020 threat data analysis:
INJURED: Ijaz Khan, senior sports journalists who works for state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan in Peshawar, was attacked by unknown on 22 May 2020 while he was on his way to home after office duty. According to Ijaz, three masked armed persons attacked him near Charsadda road while he was proceeding to home on his bike. During the attack, he got minor injury on his head. “I have no any idea what is the real motive behind the attack, but this is part of a series of attack on me and my son,” he told Freedom Network. He said that a few days back him and his son were also attacked by unknown masked people at the same place and at the same time, but luckily, he and his remained safe.
ATTCK ON HOME: House of Allah Bux Aresar, Dawn newspaper correspondent in Umerkot in Sindh province, was attacked on 5 May 2020. According to the journalist, a gang of land grabbers and criminals, had occupied his house in Umerkot. Senior police officer DIG Mushtaq Mahar ordered area police official to get the house vacated by the gangsters. However, no arrest was made yet. Police still refusing to register First Information Report against the gang members. The journalist told Freedom Network that he approached area senior superindent of police but he is refusing to register his case and is advising to get court’s orders to register the FIR. “I am still receiving threats from criminals on social media,” he said. The journalist demanded the authorities to provide adequate security and justice against the alleged criminals.
VERBAL THREATS: Bajaur-based journalist Anwarzada Gulyar, correspondent of Dawn News TV channel and editor of local Daily Bajaur News, received verbal threats from driver of Khar assistant commissioner for making video while district administration authorities were making arrests of shopkeepers for violating lockdown against corona virus on 10 May 2020. The driver snatched his mobile camera and threatened him with arrest by the police. The matter was highlighted on social media by local journalists but was not reported to police or the local administration. Anwar Gulyar said that the local administration sent him a message for rapprochement but he did not go to the administration offices.
Noor Muhammad Soomro, crime reporter of Express News channe in Rahim Yar Khan district in Punjab province, was given life threat on phone calls by some smugglers. The crime reporter used to run stories against smuggled goods in the district. “They got furious and decided to teach me a lesson. They called me and threatened of dire consequences,” the journalist was quoted as saying. The person calling on phone said they would kill him. The journalist investigated these calls and found a ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s local leader was behind the threats aiming to “silence” the journalist.
24 News TV channel’s reporter Usman Javed Malik reported threatened by police on 2 May 2020 after he aired report on a police encounter in Sadiqabad Police station area in Rawalpindi district of Punjab province. The dacoits escaped police arrest in the reported encounter which angered the police threatening the reporter and demanded apology. The reporter stood by his report.
A senior police official in Mirpur (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) Irfan Saleem has reportedly threatened editor Daily Jammu Kashmir, Islamabad, Shahzad Rathore.
The editor reported that the police official called him to his office on 18 May 2020 and made allegation that one of his friends was “uploading derogatory material” on Facebook to defame police official and the editor was alleged to have provided the material against the police. But the editor denied these allegations. Upon his denial, the SSP threatened him to bear all the consequences. SSP also issued a press release on this matter. Rathore said police was targeting him for publishing reports on law-enforcers.
LEGAL CASE: Former ISI chief late Hameed Gul’s daughter and owner of Waran Bus Service Rawalpindi Uzma Gull sent legal notice of Rs.500 million to YouTuber Syed Aoun Sherazi, who runs YouTube channel ‘Aoun Sherazi News.’ The notice was served after a news clip prepared by Aoun Sherazi on Waran Bus Service. The YouTuber claimed his news clip is based on fact with evidence produced in the story. On other hand, Uzama Gull claimed that the news clip damages her repute.
PEMRA in Action
There has been no single show-cause notice or direction was issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority during May 2020.
Threats, Attacks & Harassment against Various Types of Media
Five print, two electronic media and one online journalist faced these eight violations monitored and documented during May 2020.
Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media
State actors such as police were reported involved in three of the eight documented cases while in two cases criminal gangs and in two “others” while in one case the threat actor was unknown.
File photo: Late journalist Zulfiqar Mandrani