FN Threat Data Analysis – June 2019
A journalist and a blogger were killed while 15 other information practioners faced, arrest, attacks and verbal threats in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and federal territory Islamabad during June 2019.
A total of 17 violations were monitored and documented under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network, managed by media watchdog organization Freedom Network. Among the 17 cases documented seven had taken place in Islamabad, six in Punjab, three in Sindh and one Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During May 2019, total violations stood at total of nine. Federal territory Islamabad topped the list where five violations reported and followed by Sindh (two) and Punjab (two) respectively.
KILLED: Ilyas Warsi, chief reporter of Daily Kawish newspaper in Hyderabad city of Sindh province, was found dead in his flat on June 14. Initial Police investigation found a visiting card on the bed on which it was it was penned: “This is the revenge of father’s murder.” No other details of the revenge were given on the card. On June 28, police arrested two accused. The journalist was living alone in the flat as his son was staying with relatives. Police said the journalist was tortured before killing him.
On 16 June, 2019, young blogger Muhammad Bilal was killed in G-9 sector of Islamabad after a caller pushed him hard to come as “urgent matter” needed settlement as the blogger was meeting relatives Bhara Kahu residential area near Islamabad. “Someone called him to meet and he reached G-9 from Bhara Kahu along with his cousin,” his family members were quoted as saying.
“Unknown people stabbed him and his cousin and both died on spot,” they went on to add. Bilal was very active on his social media platforms and had rightwing religious leaning. On the application of his father police registered FIR and investigation continues.
ARRESTED: Police arrested 92 News TV channel reporter Asif Sindhu for taking shots of police investigating cross-fire between two warring groups in Faisalabad on 17 June 2019. As the reporter was taking shots with his mobile phone the police stopped him and snatched his camera despite the fact the journalist revealed his identity. He was detained in Balochini Police Station for three hours. His colleagues protested the arrest and district police officer intervened to order release of the journalist.
ASSAULTED: A Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader and member of Sindh Assembly Masroor Siyal physically attacked Imtiyaz faran, president of Karachi Press Club, during break of TV channel’s talk-show programme on 21 June 2019 in Karachi. Leaked video of the incident clearly found PTI leader guilty of attacking the journalist after they exchanged hot words over policy statement. The central party leader, meanwhile, served notice on Masroor for attack on the journalist foring him to seek apology for his action in a video message.
On 29 June 2019, Bashir Malik working with 24 News TV channel in Khushab district was attacked after he accompanied a source to receive information about mafia groups. As he travelled some distance with the source he was attacked by armed men. One of them fired a shot aiming him while others used sticks to beat him up. The armed men made video while brutally attacking the journalist and they made escape effortlessly after “teaching a lesson.” The journalist is under treatment in a local hospital while police made no arrests yet.
On 01 June 2019, Khushab Post Office officials attacked journalists Rana Zaheer of Samaa News TV channel and his companions Sattar Mirza of Aap News TV channel, Hum News TV channel’s Waqas as they taking shots of the post office where public received no good service. Security guards also joined the officials injuring the journalists who were taken to hospital for their injuries’ treatment. They also snatched their cameras.
On 09 June 2019, ARY News channel reporter Irfan Rafiq was attacked in Lodhran as he reached his residence at 9pm. The men were armed with weapons and rods, according to the reporter. As the journalist shouted for help his siblings rescued him and the attackers escaped. Rafiq told Freedom Network that a gang wanted to silence him.
VERBAL THREATS: photojournalist Ali Hamza, working for Jehan Pakistan newspaper in Peshawar, received 17 June 2019 verbal threats from KP Police PRO via phone after he highlighted an ordeal of three-wheelers’ driver on his social media platforms. “Police PRO Ilyas Sadozai called me on my mobile phone and asked me why did I highlighted the driver’s ordeal,” the photojournalist told Freedom Network. “And he threatened me to face dire consequences.” A meeting of Khyber Union of Journalists held to condemn the verbal threats against its member and asked KP Police chief to order probe against the PRO.
On 17 June 2019, Amir Ishaq Suharwardi, senior journalist working with ARY News channel and blogger received phone call from senior investigating police officer to inform him that the journalist’s mobile number was discovered from mobile phone of arrested dacoit. The journalist told the officer a journalist’s phone number could be discovered in anybody’s phone and it was no surprise that he discovered this. Before the threatening call, a police team raided Sunharwardi’s residence in Karachi and threatened the family. “All it aims to keep me off my blogging,” the journalist held belief.
On 19 June 2019, The Nation newspaper’s reporter Israr Ahmad in Rawalpindi submitted an application with Pothohar Police Station about verbal threat he received and it has been the case for long time that he is receiving such threatening call for a year. In his application he, referred to his previous application in which he gave details of persons making threatening calls to hurl life threats to him. He demanded action on his application against the persons involved and demanded protection from police.
Senior journalist and reporter of Dawn News channel Mateen Haider along other four journalists Zahid Farooq Malik, Editor Daily Matro Watch, Tahir Mahmood Awan, News Editor/Reporter of Daily Nai Baat, Syed Aun Sherazi, PTV reporter and Saad Umer, Roze TV reporter, visited Foreign Office spokesman residence in F-7 on 14 June evening. When they parked their vehicles near his house a guard of neighbor rushed towards them and aimed gun at them.
According to Mateen Haider, Hamza Bari, son of an alleged land grabber, came there and threatened them with dire consequences. When the inquired about the life threat, they came to know that the culprits feared if the journalists reached there for coverage.
Mateen Haider called 15 and police reached there. They accused run away. On Mateen Haider reports police registered FIR to pursue. Later on police arrested three servants of Hamza Bari.
Click link to read May 2019 threat data analysis:
PEMRA in Action
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) served 14 show-cause notices on Geo News, Dawn News, ARY News, Express News, Aaj News, AbbTakk News, Dunya News, 24 News, GNN, 91 News, Samaa News, Neo News, Such News and Koh-i-Noor TV channels for “not following advice issued on 30 May 2019 while News One channel was fined for “airing video” against National Accountability chairman.
Threats, Attacks & Harassment against Various Types of Media
Journalists murdered or attacked or arrested or received verbal threats during June 2019 included nine TV, seven print and one online media.
Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media
In six violations state or government officials’ involvement was suspected while in five cases the perpetrators of the crimes were unknown and one case a leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was were believed involved and remaining one case a criminal gang was involved.
Caption: Late Ilyas Warsi