Threat Data Analysis – December 2021
Four cases of detention, attack on home and verbal threat journalists faced in federal capital city Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were registered and documented during December 2021 through the Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, an award-winning civil liberty organisation that has been managed by Freedom Network since early 2016.
The Islamabad-based Freedom Network has been assisting journalists at risk in four different categories in partnership with five press clubs in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar under the Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network programme since February 2016.
Month of December has witnessed the lowest number of cases of threats against journalists during 2021.
DETENTION: Two journalists – Qazi Fazlullah Shinwari of Geo News channel and Abuzar Afridi of Daily Expressnewspaper – were detained while seeking data from Election Commission office in Peshawar on 15 December 2021 four days before the first phase of Local Government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The polls were held on 19 December 2021.
“We went to the Election Commission office to request official data as we were assigned duty to make reports on the election for our respective media groups,” Abuzar told Freedom Network. “The staff called police who detained us at a police station for four hours before local journalists rescued us,” he said.
ATTOCK ON HOME: Unknown gunmen attacked Umar Farooq Paracha, a journalist working for Dunya News channel in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on 05 December 2021. Luckily, the family of the journalist stayed safe and no-one was reported injured in the indiscriminate firing. “My house was attacked for no other reason than my journalism work,” Paracha told Freedom Network, adding he did not know who were behind this attack. Local police visited the journalist’s residence to collect forensic evidence. However, no arrests were made till filing of this report. The journalist had received threats from Taliban-linked mayhem in the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and he was “relocated” to a safer location with family to stay safe.
VEBRAL THREAT: In a purported leaked audio clip on 13 December 2021, Chairman Kashmir Committee Sheharyar Afridi is heard encouraging violence against France-based Pakistani journalist Younas Khan, who works for Aaj Newschannel, for asking the Kashmir Committee chairman a critical question during his press conference arranged by “Paris Kashmir Council” in Paris. After the conference, the chairman could be heard in the leaked audio encouraging organisers of the press conference to not let him spare. He chairman said the journalist “damaged” his reputation.
Younas Khan told Freedom Network that the French Interior Ministry had taken notice of the alleged verbal threat against him. “I take the threat seriously and feel threatened as I am thinking of not going hometown in Pakistan which I usually visit every year,” he said.
Click the below link to read November 2021 threat data analysis report:
Threats, attacks against various types of media:
Three journalists who faced the violations were broadcast journalist while the fourth was print journalist.
Threat actors attacking and harassing journalists and the media:
In three of the four cases, state actors – police and Kashmir Committee Chairman – were believed involved while in the fourth case unknown actor was reported involved.
Caption: Journalist Umar Fraooq Paracha shows bullet fired at his residence in Hangu.