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Another journalist targeted by demonstrators

Another journalist targeted by demonstrators

Published on Monday 24 September 2012.
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Agence France-Presse photographer Asif Hasan was injured by demonstrators during a protest in Karachi on 21 September against the anti-Islamic video "Innocence of Muslims."

One of his colleagues, Hasan Mansoor, told Reporters Without Borders that Hasan was injured while resisting protesters who were trying to grab his camera.

"The demonstrators took Asif’s lens, but he resisted and did not let them get the camera," Mansoor said. The photographer received injuries to the hand, shoulder and ear. His motorcycle was also taken but he later found it abandoned.


21/09/2012: Media targeted during protests, TV driver fatally shot

ARY News television driver Aamir Liaqat received a fatal gunshot injury to the chest when police opened fire today on demonstrators staging a violent protest outside a cinema in the northern city of Peshawar against the anti-Islamic video "Innocence of Muslims."

Reporters Without Borders offers its heartfelt condolences to Liaqat’s family, friends and colleagues and calls for an independent investigation to determine the exact circumstances of his death, including the role of the police.

"It is essential that the relevant authorities give the police clear orders to avoid endangering media workers," said Reporters Without Borders, which also urged demonstrators not to target the media and journalists who are attend their protests as observers, just to cover the situation.

Liaqat was driving an Ary News vehicle when police opened fire on the protesters, who were trying to set fire to the cinema. Three rounds hit the vehicle and one of them struck Liaqat. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

"We clearly asked the police not to fire towards the ARY News truck but the police ignored our request," one of the TV station’s journalists said.

The media were also targeted during similar protests against the US-produced video in other Pakistani cities. A Samaa TV crew was attacked while covering a protest in Karachi and their truck was set on fire.

Protesters also targeted a press club located near the US consulate in the eastern city of Lahore and a press club in the southern city of Hyderabad.

Ashiq Hussain, a Samaa TV journalist in Hyderabad, said the demonstrators were dissatisfied with the media’s coverage of their protests. He added that the situation in Hyderabad was under control and that the police had stationed themselves near the press club in order to protect it.


20/09/2012: Liberal daily attacked during protest against anti-Islam video

Two days after the attack on the Wari Press Club in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, demonstrators protesting against the anti-Islamic video "Innocence of Muslims" yesterday attacked the Daily Times office in the southern city of Karachi.

During a strike organized by the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, individuals opened fire outside the newspaper’s office and stormed inside, causing minor damage and no injuries.

The newspaper’s management said the protesters had tried to paralyze its activities by intimidating staff.

Launched in March 2002, the Daily Times is one of Pakistan’s best-known liberal newspapers and covers such sensitive subjects as the country’s growing extremism and efforts to combat terrorism.


18/09/2012: Three journalists injured when protesters ransack and torch press club

A large crowd protesting against a controversial US-produced film ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed yesterday ransacked and set fire to the Press Club in Wari, in the Upper Dir district of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, injuring three journalists.

"We condemn such acts of violence against journalists and the premises they use," Reporters Without Borders said. "The security forces must have an active presence at demonstrations to ensure that they do not turn violent, and must intervene when people are in danger."

The media freedom organization added: "We are very worried about the ability of journalists to work freely in Pakistan, which offers no safety guarantees for media personnel."

In yesterday’s attack on the Wari Press Club, Jamil Roghani of the Daily Mashriq, Idress of Khyber News TV and Bahadur Khan of the Daily Wahdat were punched and beaten with sticks by protesters, who ransacked the main building, the record office, computers and other equipment and then set fire to four rooms. The police were just 200 metres away at the time but did not intervene.

In a similar demonstration in the southern business capital of Karachi on 16 September, protesters smashed the windows of several TV station trucks.

Pakistan is ranked 151st out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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