PFUJ expresses concern over escalating incidents of violence against journalists
ISLAMABAD, Oct. 13 (INP): Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed serious concern over the escalating trend of violence against the journalists while performing their duties from the various private entrepreneurs and their cronies and added that time has come that the journalists should themselves prepare some protective measures and chalk out strategy to overcome such situation.
According to the reports reaching to the PFUJ Secretariat “a team of “Express News” TV channel, comprising of Huma Bukhari, the programme host, Associate Producer Rehan Hussain and cameramen S.N. Changaizi and Kamran Zai, were allegedly fired upon by unidentified men in Orangi town of Karachi the other day. The media team of the channel claims that they were attacked as they were filming a factory producing fake cold drinks for their weekly programmes “Consumer Crime”.
Huma Hussain, Associate Producer who was heading the media claimed that the media team, accompanied by provincial government’s Food Department personnel, was filming the fake cold drinks being produced when suddenly they heard the sound of gun shots outside the factory. The media team saw eight armed persons engaged firing on the factory and on vehicles parked outside. The food department personnel ran away while the media team took cover in a room.
She revealed “the attackers grabbed an Inspector of Food Department Nadeem Bhatti as he came out but he somehow managed to escape from the scene. After that armed men entered the factory and started firing on the walls and on glass bottles indiscriminately. One of them hit her foot with the Kalashnikov butt and grasped her neck.
They demanded valuables, snatched mobile phone of host Bukhari and her wallet. Cameraman Changaizi refused to hand over the camera but they took out the video tape before letting the media team go.
When media team was going in Express News van, armed persons allegedly followed them on motorcycles and again opened fire on them; two bullets struck in the van’s back seat but no one was hurt.
According to Hussain the firing was allegedly carried out by the owners of the factory who successfully forced the media team and Food department officials to leave without collecting evidence.
PFUJ termed this incident very serious adding that the media outlets should also evolve compensative SOP’s for the coverage of sensitive areas where “unseen” acts of violance can happen. “We are living in such a society where people by and large do not believe on “truth”, and carry on their trade, business, as per ethics and norms. Whenever, media teams would visit places where unethically and unlawfully manufacturing of any foods items, or any other product is being prepared the safety of the media teams would be at stake.
It is the perquisite for the Media Outlets to first ensure safety, and security of the team before sending them coverage in such danger zones”. If the media houses get insured all the cameras, equipments, vehicles, why the employees of the organisations are not insured the PFUJ questioned.
PFUJ demanded to the Sindh Government to ensure the strict action in accordance with law all those who involved in torturing the Express Team in the Karachi and their trails at the same time the PFUJ expect that in future the Media Owners would send their teams after fully ensuring the “safety” and security of the media persons.