PPF condemns widespread acts of violence against media during PTI long march

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) condemns the acts of violence against members of the media during a long march by the political party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on May 25. It is unacceptable for journalists to be made the target of violence during any kind of political demonstrations or activity. The media is tasked with reporting on and covering such developments and should be able to do so without the fear of physical assault.

On May 25, the PTI led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan had started their ‘long march’ toward the capital, Islamabad where they were to stage a sit-in. During the day, violence by protestors and the police was reported. In the midst of this, journalists became the target of assaults.

Some individuals including “party stalwarts” pelted stones at the Geo television channel and Jang group offices in the capital. According to Geo, some media workers were injured due to the attack, the windows of the newsroom were shattered and a DSNG van was damaged.

According to Samaa TV, their reporter ZamZam Saeed and a cameraperson were wounded after being attacked by PTI supporters at Numaish Chorangi in Karachi. Additionally, reporter Yasir Hussain was injured when he was filming a mob setting a vehicle on fire. A Samaa TV team in Rawalpindi was also attacked, the report added.

According to Aaj News, a DSNG van for the network was attacked,  a Hum News DSNG van, the windscreen of which was damaged and a Neo News Peshawar team was attacked and their DSNG van was hit, all in Islamabad. An Aaj News DSNG van was also attacked in Lahore.

AFP photographer Asif Hassan was also injured in Karachi. According to IFJ, he was hit in the head by a stone intended for police officers. The photographer was taken to a hospital where he received stitches and is said to be in stable condition.

PPF condemned the attacks on the media and media houses as attacks on press freedom, and added that political parties such as the PTI must ensure that its party members and protestors are reminded of the role of a free press and they must ensure that journalists are not made the subject of violent attacks.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the attack. PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi, in a statement, said that journalists were attacked, Geo’s office was pelted and some camerapersons and photographers were tortured while on duty. They said that “such an attitude would not be tolerated and journalists would protest the intimidation and harassment”.

PFUJ asked PTI head Imran Khan to take action against those behind the attacks and also urged the government to identify who was behind these attacks via CCTV footage and to take action against them.

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