Press Statement

Pakistan: Journalists detained at election site

01 May, 2024

Several journalists were reportedly illegally detained and abused in Punjab’s Gujrat district while covering local by-elections on April 21. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), urge the local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into and ensure journalists are able to work without fear of harassment and obstruction.

On April 21, journalists covering by-elections in Punjab’s northern Gujrat city were reportedly illegally detained by both police and individuals in plain clothes, with law enforcement assaulting the media workers and damaging their equipment.

Among those affected were reporter Bilal Sikander and cameraman Mushtaq Danyal from 92 News, as well as cameraman Raees Dilawar from GNN News, and several other local media professionals. The journalists were taken into custody for several hours.

Sikander claims the group was taken to a police station, where he and his colleagues were intimidated, with police allegedly threatening to cause them serious harm to ‘ensure their silence’ throughout the by-elections. Both Sikander and Danyal sustained serious injuries to their arms and backs.

The journalists were released following intervention by the PFUJ and local union leaders. According to the affected journalists, they were denied medical attention and no investigation into their allegations of abuse has begun.

The PFUJ said: “Who so ever is behind the illegal abduction of journalists must be brought to justice. The PFUJ announce to move the court to register a First Information Report (FIR) against the abductors for justice.”

The IFJ said: “The Government of Pakistan must take action to thoroughly investigate the alleged abductions and harassment of a group of journalists in Gujrat. Further measures must be introduced to safeguard the rights of media workers and ensure impunity is not permitted to run rife.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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