Several reporters and crew members from various media organisations have been attacked while covering the anti-government sit-ins in Islamabad. Journalists critical of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s (PAT) politics are also being harassed through the social media and telephone calls.
The crews, reporters and anchors of Geo, Aaj and Samaa televisions have been harassed and intimidated quite repeatedly in these rallies. What is deplorable is that Imran Khan is instigating his followers to boycott Geo that tantamounts to negate freedom of media and free speech which he exceedingly enjoys.
SAFMA calls on the organisers of the demonstrations to control their workers and ensure security of the journalists performing their duties at the sit-ins. Although, PTI condemned the attacks and its chief Imran Khan apologised to the journalists, the PTI supporters have continued to harass journalists. SAFMA also cautions media, anchors, reporters and analysts to avoid speculations and frustrate the efforts to destabilise democratic setup since media freedom is dependent on democracy and constitutional protection.
SAFMA urges the leadership of both political parties to take serious notice of the incidents of torture and harassment of reporters and news crew by their supporters and stop the recurrence of any such incident. Such behaviour is not going to help these parties achieve their objectives in any way.