Pakistan: Journalists thrashed by political party activists

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The fresh wave of violence against media and journalists reached Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province where the activists of a political party thrashed journalists with clubs and iron rods injuring many reporters and cameramen at around 5 pm on August 26, 2013. Protest was held by political party activists against alleged rigging in local body elections.

Ejaz George, cameraman for “Capital TV” who received eye injury, told Pakistan Press Foundation that the scuffle started when he asked a party activist to provide him the way for coverage and stay a side. However, he said after the exchange of some harsh words between them the activist, who was carrying a party flag; hit him with the flag’s stick. The stick caused serious injury in his left eye lid and it started to bleed. Journalists rushed him to the hospital. He is in stable condition now, he said.

Many other reporters and cameramen also received minor injuries.

A large number of media persons gathered at Faisal Chowk in front of the Punjab Assembly to protest against the behavior of political party workers and stopped media coverage of the protest. They also boycotted the Punjab Assembly proceedings, demanding that strict action be taken against people responsible. Provincial Law minister immediately expressed solidarity and requested adjournment of the session till August 27. Speaking on the occasion, he said violence with the media representatives was very tragic. Media is an important pillar of the society. Those involved in this incident would be dealt according to the law.
Pervaiz Shaukat, president Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and Amin Yusuf, the general secretary, also condemned violence by the workers of a political party against journalists and demanded of the government prompt action against culprits.

Members of Punjab Union of journalist (PUJ), Lahore Press Club and Punjab Assembly Press gallery continued their protest demonstration. Addressing on the occasion Arshad Ansari, president LPC announced his complete support and also announced a protest demonstration outside assembly at 10am on August 27. Meanwhile, PUJ has given a protest call for same day at 3pm at Faisal Chowk.

Later, Political party leaders, and Opposition Leaders in Punjab Assembly apologised to journalists. Expressing solidarity with them, the party leaders said they would conduct an inquiry into the incident and cancel the party membership of those linked to it.

Pakistan Press Foundation

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