May Proves Worse Month For Journalists This Year

24 Attacks & Cases Reported Across Pakistan

Threat Data Analysis – May 2022 

A journalist in Baluchistan escaped unhurt in bomb explosion while reporting local government elections and two women journalists faced offline harassment for their journalism work as 24 cases of violations against journalists were documented and monitored during May 2022 through the Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, an award-winning civil liberty organisation Freedom Network is managing since 2016.

Award-winning media watchdog organization 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.

ATTEMPT TO KILL: Bol News channel reporter Muhammad Ghazanfar had a narrow escape when an improvised explosive device went off outside a polling station in Mongecher area of Kalat district of Baluchistan province where elections for local government were being held on 29 May 2022. The authorities received threats to sabotage the democratic process. Ghazanfar was extremely lucky to have escaped unhurt.

OFFLINE HARASSMENT: A total of nine offline harassment cases were documented during May 2022 when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was holding anti-federal government rallies to protest ouster of Imran Khan in no-confidence vote. Among the nine cases involved two women journalists as well.

Samaa News channel bureau chief in Peshawar Tariq Afaq received “death threats” after he asked former prime minister Imran Khan “hard questions” in Peshawar during his press conference on 22 May 2022. The questions angered former defence minister Pervaiz Khattak who told the journalist: “If your allegations proved wrong I will kill you.”

Freelance photojournalist Iqbal Haider was attending public meeting of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) in Peshawar on 22 May 2022 where he was stopped from entering the venue using the gate which organizers said was meant for “VIP” movement. This led to exchange of harsh words and the photojournalist’s camera was broken when the party activists attacked him.

A woman journalist received a “threatening call” from powerful quarters. She allowed Freedom Network to document her harassment case but stopped form making it public. Therefore, Freedom Network is withholding all details to respect her opinion but documented her harassment case for future reference in case any harm comes to visit her.

Samaa News channel lady reporter Zamzam Saeed was made subject harassment to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters in Karachi on 25 May 2022 during the party protest against ouster of party leader Imran Khan from Prime Minister’s House in no-confidence vote. Her colleagues – Yasir Hussain and cameraperson Imran Khan – were also harassed during the coverage.

Neo News channel’s reporter Sheraz Ahmed Sherazi and 24 News channel’s reporter Gohar Mehsood complained that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters harassed them on 25 May 2022 at D Chowk in Islamabad while covering the party’s protest meeting. “we were not allowed to cover the meeting,” they said. Police, meanwhile, snatched camera from French news agency AFP photojournalist Raja Imran who was trying to cover Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s protest rally on 25 May 2022 in Islamabad. The police also snatched his mobile and beat him up when he was demanding return of his belongings.

ASSAULTED: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters attacked Neo News channel’s crew including cameraman Dost Muhammad and driver Muhammad Raziq in Peshawar on 25 May 2022 while he was covering the party’s protest rally against the federal government. “The PTI supporters all of a sudden started attacking us beating us up and breaking glass window of DSNG van. They attacked us without any reason,” the TV crew told Freedom Network.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) supporters beat up ARY News channel reporter Chand Nawab on 1 May 2022 outside the channel’s office in Saddar area. The incident took place when the N supporters were protesting against the channel’s editorial policy opposing the federal government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The protestors also attempted to damage DSNG van of the channel while chanting slogans against the channel. A video showed the party activists were thrashing the reporter.

Shahraih Faisal Police attacked Bol News channel’s reporter Abdul Haseeb and cameraman Sajid Kamal on 29 May 2022 while on duty in Karachi. The police snatched their phones, wallets and other belongings and Haseeb was meted out violent treatment when he was taken to police station. Other crew members were not allowed to enter the police station. No reason was given for this brazen daylight attack on the media by the Karachi police.

INJURED: Four journalists were injured while on duty during Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led protest rally in Islamabad on 25 May 2022.

92 News channel’s reporter Rana Tariq and cameraman Naveed Ahmed received injuries when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters attacked the channel’s DSNG van in D Chowk on 25 May 2022. The two journalists were immediately rushed to hospital for urgent medical treatment where their condition was stated out of danger.

French news agency AFP photojournalist Asif Hassan, 45, was tortured during coverage of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led protest rally in Karachi’s Nimaish Chowrangi on 25 May 2022. The journalist was taken to hospital where he was administered bandage to control head injury. He was caught in crossfire between police and protestors, according to eyewitness. A brick thrown by protestor and aiming police hit the photojournalist. Five stitches were administered to treat the head wound.

Click the below link to read April 2022 threat data analysis report:

https://www.fnpk.org/a-journalist-killed-for-his-reporting-in-punjab/

LEGAL CASES: Three TV anchors and a YouTuber, including Arshad Sharif and Sabir Shakir of ARY News channel, Sami Ibrahim of Bol News channel, Moeed Pirzada of 92 News channel and Imran Riaz Khan, were booked under different charges in different police stations in Punjab and Sindh provinces. They are accused of allegedly speaking against the state institutions. They are booked under Sections 154, 505, 131, 153 and 452 of Pakistan Penal Code. They all deny all the charges levelled against them. These journalists are critical of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his backers and support former prime minister Imran Khan.

DETAINED: Digital journalist Mateen Dotani in Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was subjected to police mistreatment and detention on 14 May 2022 for doing professional duty by covering a protest demonstration. His colleague Waseem Mehsud told Freedom Network that Dotani was later taken to a police station where he was detained. Police freed him after the journalist community took up the matter with senior authorities.

ATTACK ON MEDIA OFFICE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters attacked bureau of Geo News in Islamabad near D Chowk where they gathered to protest ouster of Imran Khan from Prime Minister’s House in no-confidence vote. They stoned the windows of the bureau damaging glass windows. However, no Geo News staffer injured in the attack.

Threats, attacks against various types of media:

Nineteen TV, three digital and two print media journalists, including two women journalists, faced these attacks during May 2022.

Threat actors attacking and harassing journalists and the media:

Among the threat actors, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was involved in nine cases while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) in one case and in five cases the threat actors included civilians registering legal cases against TV anchors while in four cases state actors were suspected.

 

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