FN Threat Data Analysis – November 2023
A militant group has threatened a tribal journalist in Khyber district in northwestern Pakistan bordering Afghanistan as three threat cases, including threat to harm, attack on home and one social media account hacking were monitored and documented during November 2023 across Pakistan.
The monitoring and documentation of these cases are undertaken under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, the award-winning civil liberty organisation Freedom Network is managing since 2016.
Eight safety hubs in partnership with Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and National Press Club, Islamabad, across Pakistan work to monitor and document these violations and assist journalists at risks.
THREAT OF HARM (NON-MURDER related)
Mehrab Afridi, journalist working for Daily Aaj, Peshawar, and member of Landi Kotal Press Club in Khyber tribal district bordering Afghanistan, has received threats from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by phone for allegedly “supporting government of Pakistan.”
According to Mehrab, he informed the local police and registered initial roznamcha report with the local police. Mehrab claimed that on 29 November 2023, he received a phone call on his mobile phone from mobile number (0093-703521879 – an Afghan number) and the caller identified himself as Kashif Afridi, TTP ameer from Khyber district and accused him of “supporting the government” against Taliban. According to report the caller threatened him that if he did not change his “behavior he will face the music.”
On 29 November 2023, X, formally known as Twitter, account of TV anchorperson Waseem Badami, who works for ARY News channel, was hacked. Waseem has over five million followers on his account. After hacking, the account was used to share allegations against Waseem Badami, which were obscene in nature.
ATTACKS ON HOME/ Property/ Assets of journalists
Firing incident on house of reporter of Express News channel Muhammad Shahid Khan in Sheikhupura was reported on 25 November 2023 around 8pm.
According to FIR, four unknown armed persons opened fire with automatic guns outside the reporter house.
Eyewitnesses said they attackers were yelling at the journalist that they would kill him along with his family. The reporter managed to call Police emergency 15 and was saved from being harmed. Signs of bullets could be seen at the roof, gate etc.
Two cases of threats against journalists were referred to the Sindh Commission on Protectionn of Journalists and other Media Practitioners (CPJMP) In October 2023. In one case, Khairpur police registered FIR against 16 working journalists from different media outlets in Hingorja, Sindh.
In another case related to a “fake case” was against senior journalist Muhamad Aslam Mahar, senior reporter of Dharti TV channel and joint secretary of Umer Kot Press Club, Sindh, by Excise Police on 29th October 2023. Aslam was arrested on October 30 due to his news against excise department officials.
Meanwhile, Freedom Network referred a case to Punjab Journalist Safety Protection Coordination Committee In October 2023.
A case of Ata Saqi of Amal-e-Peham newspaper and Kashif-ur-Rehman of Roz News channel, were abused by the local police when they were covering the land dispute in Jalalpur Peer Wala, Multan, on 29th October.
Threats, Attacks, and Harassment against Various Types of Media:
Two TV and one print journalists received the three cases of threats during November 2023.
Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media:
One state actor and two unknown threat actors were believed involved in these threats the journalists faced.