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Cameraman suffers serious injuries while reporting on clash at college

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 13 October 2008 IFJ media release:

Calls for Safety Action as Cameraman Suffers Serious Injuries in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned for the safety of journalists and media workers in Pakistan after a cameraman received serious gunshot wounds while reporting on a clash between students at a college in Karachi on October 12.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, reported that Farhan Somroo, a cameraman with Aaj TV, is in a critical condition after he was hit in the stomach by two bullets.

Reporter Osma Chaudhry was also injured, but is out of danger. Four other people were also hurt in the incident.

Somroo and Chaudhry were reporting on pre-admission entry exams for students at Karachi's Swedish Technical College when animosity between rival student factions erupted in violence.

The IFJ joined the PFUJ in calling on print and electronic media organisations to make a genuine commitment to provide their journalists, camera operators and other media workers with training and equipment to prepare them for reporting on violent and potentially violent news events, ranging from civil unrest to outright war.

Concerns for the safety of media workers in Pakistan have intensified in the past year.

Almost exactly a year ago, Arif Khan, a cameraman for ARY One World, was killed in a bomb blast while covering a rally for Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was assassinated in December.

Media groups are also urged to provide complete insurance cover for journalists and media workers.

"As Pakistan becomes increasingly dangerous for journalists and media workers, it is imperative that media organisations take responsibility to provide media personnel with training and equipment to provide them with as much protection as possible while they conduct their work," IFJ Asia-Pacific director Jacqueline Park said.

"Where journalists and camera workers cannot do their work safely, independent media reporting and press freedom suffers."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 in 120 countries worldwide.

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