Ensure safety of journalists, Pakistan government told

March 17th, 2008 - 3:30 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Brussels, March 17 (IANS) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged the Pakistan government to ensure safety of media persons in that country. Referring to alleged assaults on journalists in Karachi, the IFJ asked the government to take “immediate and urgent” action to protect reporters, who were victims of a violent campaign by some political activists.

The IFJ appeal follows a week of confrontation in Karachi that has seen a series of assaults and kidnappings of journalists, according to EuAsiaNews.

On March 13, cameramen and journalists were attacked, chased and beaten while reporting on a demonstration organised by the women’s wing of the Mohajir Quami Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) outside the Karachi Press Club.

A driver of a media vehicle was taken hostage by armed protesters, who warned journalists not to broadcast video footage.

A gang, who arrived on motorcycles, raided the press club Saturday evening demanding to know the whereabouts of union officials.

Members of the IFJ who are presently in Pakistan also raised the issue Saturday with President Pervez Musharraf.

“It’s clear that political groups that lost out in recent elections are blaming journalists for their woes,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, who is leading an IFJ mission to Pakistan.

“It is scandalous that so far police and the authorities have stood by without providing our colleagues with proper protection. They must act now before there are tragic consequences,” he said.

“The first priority is the safety and security of journalists,” said White.

“We are pleased that on all sides people assure us there is commitment to change, but our colleagues in Karachi want to see action now to end the intimidation of journalists in the country,” he added.

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