CJA and PFUJ condemn beating of TV crew in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD — The public thrashing and alleged torture of a young woman, and a related attack on a media crew by security guards supported by police, has provoked media calls for prosecution and redress by the Punjabi Government.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the torture and beatings last week, attributed to Lahore Development Authority’s (LDA) security guards. Their target was a woman ex-employee of LDA, and members of the staff of the private TV channel, Dunya News.
The union is demanding a public investigation and the immediate arrest of all security and police elements involved in the attacks, and an end to the impunity and collusion enjoyed by corporations and the police.
The altercation began when a Dunya News producer tried to stop the guards from thrashing a woman who had tried to visit the authority to deliver a Lahore High Court order seeking her redress of an employment grievance.
In the attack on Dunya News people covering the event, cameras were forcibly taken and smashed. A senior producer, Taha Siddiqui, suffered a fractured rib.
Despite complaints lodged with the guards in charge and senior police, records (FIR) of the confrontation were registered by neither body.
PFUJ said the attacks and subsequent disregard for records of it had once again exposed the emptiness of claims by the Punjab Government that they believed in rule of law, tolerance, democracy and good governance.
The journalist spokesman said the LDA affair was the 13th of its kind in the Punjab where media people were beaten up by corporate or government functionaries, and where none of the official offenders had been disciplined or brought to justice. This, they said, was encouraging public skepticism of government and the media.
The PFUJ called for the arrest of the accused guards and police and warned that if this did not occur within 24 hours, the journalists union would call for country-wide demonstrations.
The Commonwealth Journalists Association HQ in Canada said the PFJU account was of heinous breach of duty, which for everyone’s sake deserved transparent high-level police and government investigations. If substantiated, senior police and security officers should be dismissed and reparations extended to the victims of the attacks and training of security and police should be examined and upgraded to am acceptable standard.