Media Analysis March 2017: Murder, Assault And Legal Cases

 

March 2017 Report by Freedom Network

Media Analysis March 2017: murder, assault and legal cases  

In March 2017, a total of 11 cases of serious violations against media and its practitioners were documented by the Pakistan Press Clubs Safety Hubs Network. These included one journalist murdered, two journalists arrested, four journalists and one media assistant assaulted and injured, and three journalists against whom legal were registered. Among these 11 violations, five occurred in Punjab province, three in federal capital Islamabad, two in Sindh province and one in Gilgit-Baltistan region.

MURDER: The most serious case in March 2017 involved an attack on March 3, 2017 in Mankera town of district Bhakkar in Punjab on Bilal Seher, a freelance journalist was shot dead by unknown assailants. No motive for his murder could be ascertained. Police have registered a case and started investigation.

ARREST: Muhammad Bachal, a reporter for Mehran TV was arrested on March 22, 2017 from Nawabshah in Sindh. The arrest was based on a police case registered against him on March 16, 2017 under the Anti-Terrorism Act for alleged extortion. He says the case was a result of his news report on abuse of office by a local official who had apparently illegally used a government school for a private marriage function. A local court dismissed the case against him and he was set free.

Mr D G Mathal, the Gilgit-based chief editor of Baang-e-Sahar newspaper, was in March 2017 discovered to have been in custody of the Gilgit-Baltistan police since November 2016. No cause or motive for his arrest could be ascertained.

ASSAULT & INJURY: In March 2017, four journalists and one media workers were assaulted and injured.

In the first case, Irfanul Haq Malik, the district correspondent for Dawn newspaper in Rahim Yar Khan city in Punjab was attacked and his property damaged on March 1, 2017 by the staff of the local municipal committee. Malik says this happened as a result of his February 2017 news report about an alleged land grab in a local market in collusion with local municipal authorities through intimidation of a group of small shopkeeper in Faisal Market.

In the second case, NewsOne TV reporter Bilal Afridi was beaten by a group of lawyers while reporting from Islamabad District Court on March 24, 2017. The incident occurred when two groups of lawyers quarreled with each other and Afridi started filming the incident. The reporter filed a case with the local police but the parties reconciled through mediation after the attackers apologized.

In the third case, Adnan Sheikh, a reporter of Capital TV, was beaten up by a worker of Pakistan People’s Party in the presence of party leader Asif Zardari on March 26, 2017 in Lahore. The worker named Irshad Bhatti beat up Sheikh after the latter asked the former not to cross in front of the cameras recording Zardari’s press conference. Sheikh has registered a case with the police against his attacker.

In the fourth case, journalist Awais Khan, a reporter of Abtak TV and Muhammad Hamza, a cameraman for Channel7 TV, were beaten up by the security guards of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader and former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar in Faisalabad in Punjab on March 29, 2017. The attack came after the media set up their cameras to cover a press conference by Sarwar and led to a boycott of the event by local media.

In the fifth case Channel24 TV Reporter Awais Kiyani was on March 30, 2017 physically attacked and verbally abused by Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Aleem Khan in Islamabad after the politician was asked a question relating to allegations of land grabbing by him in Lahore. After a protest by journalists in Islamabad, Khan later apologized to Kiyani.

LEGAL CASE: In March 2017, legal cases were registered against three journalists.

In the first case, local municipal authorities registered a case of alleged violation of city bylaws in building his private property against Irfanul Haq Malik, the district correspondent for Dawn newspaper in Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab on March 1, 2017. He was also attacked and his property damaged by the staff of the local municipal committee. Malik says this happened as a result of his February 2017 news report about an alleged land grab in a local market in collusion with local municipal authorities through intimidation of a group of small shopkeeper in Faisal Market.

In the second case, police in Nawabshah in Sindh on March 16, 2017 registered a case of alleged extortion under the Anti-Terrorism Act against Muhammad Bachal, a reporter for Mehran TV. He was also arrested a week later. Bachal says the case was a result of his news report on abuse of office by a local official who had apparently illegally used a government school for a private marriage function. A local court dismissed the case against him and he was set free.

In the third case, on March 28, 2017, the Gilgit-Baltistan police registered a case under the Anti-Terrorism Act for alleged blackmail against journalist Shabbir Siham. The reporter for Daily Times newspaper, based in Islamabad, had apparently angered a Gilgit-Baltistan government minister after a report he published about him on March 20, 2017. The police raised Siham’s house but he had gone into hiding. Later the federal government promised to revoke the case against him.

Threats, Attacks & Harassment against Media Institutions

In March 2017, no case of a physical attack on media offices were documented by the Press Clubs Safety Hubs Network. There was no formal ban or enforced censorship on a media house reported this month. No information was available on any media house being served with a legal notice from either official quarters or from private parties.

Threats, Attacks & Harassment against Various Types of Media

In March 2017, a total of four categories of attacks and threats against a total of 11 practitioners of various types of media were documented by the Press Clubs Safety Hubs Network and the media. These included seven cases of violations against television media and five against print media. One case was documented against a freelance journalist, who was killed.

Of the seven cases against television media practitioners, one related to arrest, five related to assault and injuries and one related to a legal case registered against a journalist. Of the five cases against print media practitioners one related to arrest, one related to assault and injuries and two related to a legal case registered against a journalist.

Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media\

During March 2017, the various reported or suspected threat actors attacking, threatening or harming media practitioners included police, which arrested two journalists and raided the house of another, politicians and political workers who attacked and injured four journalists, municipal authorities which attacked a journalist and also registered a case against him and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan, which registered a terrorism case against one journalist.

The information collected here is based on reporting by victims or their families and does not necessarily imply it is verified, unless specified. The information filed here is in good faith and aimed at analyzing trends for the sole purpose of informing strategies to reduce threats against media and its practitioners.

Advocacy on Journalists’ Safety by Press Clubs Safety Hubs Network

In March 2017, the Pakistan Press Clubs Safety Hubs Network spent a busy month. Some of the key advocacy activities on journalists’ safety in this period included the following:

National Press Club, Islamabad, Safety Hub

  • The National Press Club Safety Hub Manager participated in a training of trainers for safety hub managers conducted by Freedom Network in Islamabad. The training was meant to expand journalists’ safety discourse to other press clubs.
  • Conducted three trainings and a seminar for women journalists of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Multan on the issues of digital safety, legal rights of journalists and harassment at work place.
  • The Safety Hub Manager attended the national meeting of all elected delegates of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in Quetta from March 17 to 19, 2017. The Safety Hub Managers from Islamabad, Quetta and Lahore tabled a joint resolution in the PFUJ Constitutional Amendments Session urging the federal government to expedite the journalists’ protection and welfare bill. The resolution was adopted unanimously. Two additional amendments proposed and passed were the decisions to establish a ‘PFUJ Journalists’ Safety Network’ and a ‘PFUJ Training and Research Unit.’ The unit will work on federal and provincial legislation for journalists in collaboration with all key stakeholders, including political parties and civil society.
  • The Safety Hub Manager coordinated a meeting of NPC called to discuss the harassment of Islamabad-based journalist Shabbir Siham from Gilgit-Baltistan by the Gilgit-Baltistan government which registered a case against hum under the Anti-Terrorism Act. The meeting decided and went ahead with protest against this by the journalists of Islamabad and Rawalpindi on March 30, 2017. As a result the government decided to reverse the case against Siham.

Dera Ismail Khan Press Club Safety Hub

  • The Dera Ismail Khan Press Club Safety Hub Manager participated in a training of trainers for safety hub managers conducted by Freedom Network in Islamabad. The training was meant to expand journalists’ safety discourse to other press clubs.
  • The Safety Hub Manager served as an expert on journalists’ security at a training for journalists and journalism students held at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of Gomal University in Dera Ismail Khan.
  • Safety Hub Manager conducted a one-day training on physical and digital security and threats documentation for members of the Mankera Press Club in district Bhakkar of Punjab.

Karachi Press Club Safety Hub

  • The Karachi Press Club Safety Hub Manager participated in a training of trainers for safety hub managers conducted by Freedom Network in Islamabad. The training was meant to expand journalists’ safety discourse to other press clubs.
  • Safety Hub Manager served as a resource person and facilitated a digital safety training at the Karachi Press Club conducted by Freedom Network for women members of the press club.
  • Safety Hub Manager served as a resource person and facilitated a digital safety training in Karachi conducted by Freedom Network for women journalism students of Karachi University and Wafaqi Urdu University along with their teachers.
  • Safety Hub Manager conducted a one-day training on physical and digital security and threats documentation for members of the Hyderabad Press Club in Hyderabad, Sindh.

Quetta Press Club Safety Hub

  • The Quetta Press Club Safety Hub Manager participated in a training of trainers for safety hub managers conducted by Freedom Network in Islamabad. The training was meant to expand journalists’ safety discourse to other press clubs.
  • Safety Hub Manager conducted a one-day training on physical and digital security and threats documentation for members of the Sarawan Press Club in district Mastung of Balochistan.
  • Safety Hub Manager, as secretary general of Balochistan Union of Journalists, led a delegation of PFUJ and met Chief Minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri in Quetta and sought his intervention in getting journalist Ali Raza Rind removed from a terrorism watchlist maintained by the government. The chief minister agreed to consider the request.
  • Safety Hub Manager co-presented a joint resolution from hub managers of Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta at a national meeting of PFUJ in Quetta to establish a Journalists Safety Network within PFUJ. The resolution was adopted.
  • Safety Hub Manager as secretary general of Balochistan Union of Journalist met leadership of PFUJ and other union of journalists to seek support for a draft of journalists’ safety bill being developed by Freedom Network. The PFUJ leadership agreed to support the bill.

Peshawar Press Club Safety Hub

  • The Peshawar Press Club Safety Hub Manager participated in a training of trainers for safety hub managers conducted by Freedom Network in Islamabad. The training was meant to expand journalists’ safety discourse to other press clubs.
  • Safety Hub Manager held an advocacy meeting with Jafar Shah, a legislator of Awami National Party and its deputy parliamentary leader in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly to sensitize him on the threats faced by journalists of the province and the tribal areas. He agreed to support efforts for provincial legislation on safety and protection of journalists.

Lahore Press Club Safety Hub

  • The Lahore Press Club Safety Hub Manager participated in a training of trainers for safety hub managers conducted by Freedom Network in Islamabad. The training was meant to expand journalists’ safety discourse to other press clubs.
  • Safety Hub Manager conducted one-day trainings on physical and digital security and threats documentation for members of the Faisalabad Press Club and Chiniot Press Club in Punjab.
  • Safety Hub Manager co-presented a joint resolution from hub managers of Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta at a national meeting of PFUJ in Quetta to establish a Journalists Safety Network within PFUJ. The resolution was adopted.

 

(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *