Thirteen Threat Cases, Including Attempted Murder, Against Journalists Reported In March

FN Threat Data Analysis – March 2023

A journalist survived attempt to kill, six others faced assaults without injury, nine had assaults resulting in injury and one survived attack on home as a total of 17 cases of various threat categories against journalists were monitored and documented during March 2023 through the Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, an award-winning civil liberty organisation Freedom Network is managing since 2016.

Islamabad-based Freedom Network is assisting journalists at risks in five different categories, including humanitarian assistance, in partnership with five press clubs in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad, and Peshawar and Women Journalists Association of Pakistan, Digital Media Alliance of Pakistan (DigiMAP) and one for minority journalists, under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network programme since February 2016.

ATTEMPT TO KILL: On March 22, Unidentified “terrorists” attacked house of Kohat-based journalist Syed Yasir Shah damaging his home partially while he and his family remained unhurt. Local police said that “unknown terrorists” carried out a bomb blast on the main gate of the journalist’s home and then opened fire with automatic weapons. Yasir Shah is district correspondent working for The News International and Geo News TV channel since 2007.

Soon after the incident, the personnel of police and the security forces rushed to the spot and launched a search operation in the area.

Yasir Shah received threatening calls and letters from militants, linked to “TTP” several times in the past. He informed bureau chief of Geo News in Peshawar about the incident who took up the matter Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police chief who assured that the journalist’s safety and security would be taken care of.

Click below link to download February 2023 Threat Data Analysis Report

Transgender TV Anchor Escapes Assassination Attempt

On 04 March 2023, Shahid Soomro, working for GTV News channel and resident of Kot Diji, District Khairpur, Sindh was stopped from reporting and threatened that he would be fired by the local crushing plant mafia. Journalist was reporting on crushing plant mafia. Earlier he had reported that local administration was not following the Sindh High Court order and the extraction of the sand stones is still going on. High Court has ordered that all the crushing plants be sealed and ask local government to submit the report.

ASSAULT RESULTING IN INJURY: Bol News channel cameraman Daniyal Kashif Hameed and Driver Yurz were injured while they were covering fruit vendor mafia in South Karachi on 27 March 2023. DIG South Irfan Baloch took immediate notice of attack on Bol News team arresting four persons involved in the attack.

Aaj TV DSNG van was attacked in Gulistan Johar, Karachi, on 14 March 2023 while covering ongoing operations against Gulistan Johar “Hijran mafia.” Angry protestors attacked the administration and KDA staff and caused serious damage to the DSNG team of Aaj TV cameraman Shahadat Baloch was injured. District administration, KDA staff and local police escaped from the spot during the attack on DSNG van.

On 8 March 2023, alliance of civil society organizations staged a rally for rights of women marking International Women Day. When participants of the rally reached the National Press Club, Islamabad some of them from different organizations clashed with each other for better media coverage. The participants became violent targeting media personnel and tried to snatch their cameras and pushed them back. They snatched tripart of lady reporter of GNN News channel Sabeen and hit her on head getting her injured.

Five other reporter, cameraman and photographers were also injured. They included: Sani Maseeh (photographer, Daily Toofan Mail), Zahid Iqbal (Reporter KNN channel), Danish Farooqi (cameraman Aaj News), Ahsan Butt (photographer, Dunya News), Waqas Mehmood (cameraman, 92 News) and Sabeen (reporter, GNN News)

ASSAULT WITHOUT INJURY: Around 30 unknown men attacked Geo News channel’s team in Gulistan Gohar on 25 March 2023 during the coverage of anti-encroachment operation by authorities. They tortured reporter Kashif Mushtaq and cameraman Zeeshan Iqbal and his mobile phone was taken away. Local police registered a case but no arrests have been made so far.

On 10 March 2023, Naveed Satti, a senior reporter and anchor of 7 News channel along with his cameraman Anwar Abbasi was recording his program in PIMS Hospital, Islamabad, for his program when some people attacked the crew. The attackers snatched camera and broke it. They also had clashed with reporter and tried to injure him. The attackers told the crew that they could not get this recording. 7 News team complained with police. PIMS administration, on police action, promised to compensate loses and tender apology for the incident.

On 18 March 2023, Abdul Razzaq, reporter of Daily Metro-Watch, was covering court hearing of Pakistan Tereek e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in toshakhana case in the Federal Judicial Complex, Islamabad, when a clash took place between police and PTI workers. Police mistook the journalist as PTI worker and started beating him. The reporter even proved his journalism credential but police continued beating him up.

ARRESTED: “Elite Force” of Peshawar Police detained Asadullah, local digital media organization’s video journalist working for Tribal News Network (TNN), on 19 March 2023 in Peshawar. According to TNN administration, video editor Asadullah was unlawfully arrested by police and detained without any legal procedure. Police kept him in custody for two hours and tortured him without committing any crime before releasing him. Asadullah’s family and all TNN team demanded from IG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to take strict action against officials involved in unlawful actionn against the journalist.

Threats, Attacks, and Harassment against Various Types of Media:

Thirteen TV and three print journalist and one other media professional faced the 17 cases of threats during March 2023.

Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media:

Two state actors, two political parties, one criminal gang, eight others groups and two unknown were believed behind these threats these journalists faced.

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