New York, June 25, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s attack on the offices of a Pakistani television outlet and calls on authorities to immediately investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.
At least four gunmen on motorcycles shot at the front of the Aaj TV building in Karachi at about 9 p.m., injuring two guards outside the station, the station’s staff members told CPJ. Aaj TV is a private Urdu-language outlet that covers domestic and international news. The guards are being treated at a local hospital, an Aaj staff member said.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban, told Agence France-Presse that his group claimed responsibility because it was angered that it did not receive the same amount of coverage as that given the government or army. The group also said that the attacks would continue if the outlet’s coverage did not change, Aaj reported.
Aaj reported that President Asif Ali Zardari and newly appointed Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf condemned the attack and said that the perpetrators should be brought to justice as soon as possible. Qaim Ali Shah, the Pakistani chief minister, has ordered an investigation and said the Aaj TV offices will be given protection, the report said.
“This brazen attack illustrates how the Pakistani press is under fire from all sides and for all manner of reasons,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Authorities need to do more than promise an investigation–they need to enforce the law to ensure that the flow of information is not dictated by violent forces.”
Wajahat Khan, a senior anchor at the outlet, told CPJ that the staff was very concerned about the health of the guards, but doesn’t intend to alter its coverage.
Pakistan has ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2010 and 2011, according to CPJ research. Last month, two journalists were killed, two others shot and wounded, and another attacked in police custody, CPJ research shows.