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Journalists' homes raided, 34 face criminal charges allegedly over reporting on Bhutto assassination aftermath

(PPF/IFEX) - The police in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh have brought criminal cases against 34 journalists, during the period of rioting that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on 28 December 2007.

According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), police registered the cases under the anti-terrorism and anti-riot acts, and have raided the homes of various journalists in different parts of the province.

Journalists against whom cases have been registered have denied their involvement in rioting and accuse police of targeting them because of their reporting.

Nineteen of the targeted journalists belong to the Sindhi daily "Kawish" and its affiliate television channel, KTN. The largest number of cases was registered in the town of Khairpur, Sindh, where police registered cases against 11 journalists on charges of rioting.

Journalists condemn the police action and say charges have been brought against journalists who were merely performing their professional duties during the violent protests after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

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