FN Threat Data Analysis – June 2018
Seven cases of abduction, arrest, physical attack, verbal threats and break-in against journalists were documented during June 2018 period under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network, managed by media watchdog organization Freedom Network.
Freedom Network is assisting journalists at risks in four different categories in partnership with eight press clubs in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar besides Khuzdar in Balochistan, Landikotal and Sukkur under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network programme since February 2016.
Punjab has been most dangerous place where four out of seven cases had taken place while two reported in Islamabad and one in Balochistan. Luckily, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been peaceful as no case was reported.
ABDUCTION: on June 5, journalist and activist Gul Bukhari was taken away on Fatimah Jinnah Road in Lahore while on her way to Waqt News channel’s office. The channel’s car she was riding in was intercepted and she was abducted right in the cantonment area. She was, however, returned home hours later as her family relative tweeted. But she requested “privacy” and shared no details yet about her hours-long abduction and those who made it happen. Punjab Police said its personnel did not “detain” the journalist.
ASSAULTS: investigative journalist Asad Kharal, who works for Bol News channel, was physically assaulted in Lahore on June 6 near airport. Masked men intercepted his car and physically assaulted him resulting in several injuries. He was rushed to a hospital where he was treated for his wounds. The investigative journalist did not share details of attack on him.
On June 17, Islamabad Traffic Police officers attacked Din News crewmembers – Reporter Muhammad Aslam Khokhar, Cameraman Mubarik Ali and DSNG engineer Kifayatullah – for making video of cops charging bikers near Faizabad. The crewmembers told Freedom Network that the Traffic Police attacked them first, snatching equipment and then taking to a police station where they were put behind the bars. Senior police officers intervened and got the crew freed and dismissed cops involved in the attack on journalists and media assistant.
ARREST: Imran Sumalani, correspondent of Daily Azadi newspaper in Mach area of Balochistan province and also general-secretary of Mach Press Club, was released on June 5 after his arrest on May 30. The journalist was arrested after First Information Report was registered against him by the Levies, local police. His colleagues believed Sumalani was booked for his reporting targeting local administration. The release followed protests.
VERBAL THREATS: A TV anchor was summoned and warned against “posting anti-state posts” on social media. Identity of the anchor and details of the summon are kept secret at the request of the anchor.
Saeed Mazari, correspondent of 24 News TV channel in Rojhan town in Rajanpur district of Punjab province, received verbal threats from Pakistan Muslim League (N) on June 22 after his report, seen as “anti-PML-N,” went on air. The journalist named Waqas Balachani who hurled the threat. The threat was reported to City Tehsil Police Station and next day in charge of the Police Station was transferred. No action is taken yet against perpetrators of crime.
BREAK-IN: Journalist and activist Marvi Sirmed’s laptops and other valuables have been burgled from her home in Islamabad, her husband reported on June 22. She works for Daily Times as correspondent and reported that two laptops, one smartphone, passports of family members and other travel documents were taken. Police made no headway yet in investigation into the burglary at the journalist’s residence. Surprisingly, her jewelry — apart from a gold ring and two bangles — was left untouched.
PEMRA ACTIONS: During June 2018, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) served show-cause notices on 12 Current affairs and 24/7 news and entertainment channels. Among these 12 notices issued, DIN News was issued notice for code of conduct, KTN ans GEO TV received notice for not following IHC order and offered Umra tickets during Ramazan transmission, and rest of the channels were issued notices for airing foreign content more than what is allowed by the regulatory authority.
Threats, Attacks & Harassment against Various Types of Media
Just one print media while five TV journalists were involved in these seven cases reported and documented during June 2018.
Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media
In three cases, state actors were involved while in the three cases the threat actors remained unknown while in one case of threat Pakistan Muslim League (N) was reported involved. [ENDS]