New York, September 18, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the police beating of television crews covering a religious rally in Pakistan. Journalists said police officers attacked two journalists from Pakistan’s ATV terrestrial network who were covering a meeting of the Sunni Tehrik (Sunni Movement) religious organization in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday evening.
A correspondent of the Dubai-based satellite news channel ARY One World who intervened was also beaten, the station’s Lahore bureau chief, Mian Aslam, told CPJ.
In a statement, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) named those attacked as ARY One World correspondent Wadood Mushtaq, and ATV’s Malik Zahid and Mohannad Nazir.
Wadood Mushtaq was beaten about the face and one of the ATV crew members had an arm broken, Aslam said. No police official responded to CPJ’s request for a comment when Lahore’s Central Police station was contacted by telephone.
“We call on the authorities to investigate these allegations of police brutality and bring those responsible for the attacks on the three journalists to justice,” said CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon. “Violence against journalists in Pakistan is growing, and the federal government must make every effort to see that it reverses the trend. It must ensure that local police officers are trained to respect the rights of reporters doing their jobs.”