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Lawyers attack media team on court premises

(PPF/IFEX) - A reporter and cameraman with Dunya TV, a private news television channel, were roughed up by a group of lawyers on court premises on November 25, 2009, in the city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's largest province.

According to press reports, reporter Muhammad Ashfaq and cameraman Muhammad Irfan were covering prisoners' meetings with their relatives in the District and Sessions Court premises, when lawyer Rana Shakeel tried to stop them, claiming that the media was banned in Sessions Court. When the media workers refused to accept his assertion, Shakeel, along with three unknown accomplices, assaulted them.

Irfan told PPF that Shakeel's accomplices slapped him and snatched his camera and mobile phone, then disappeared into a room. When Irfan followed them, they again assaulted him and locked him up for about 20 minutes. When Ashfaq asked Shakeel to release Irfan, they began beating him and tried to snatch his mobile phone. Ashfaq made a call to the Secretary of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA), Ahmed Yar Chawali, who arrived on the scene and freed the detained cameraman. Both media workers sustained bruises on their faces. The camera was also damaged.

In a joint statement, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Pervez Shoukat and Secretary General Shamsul Islam Naz condemned the "heinous" attack on the two media workers while they were performing their professional duty.

The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) and Lahore Press Club held a rally in Lahore demanding that government authorities and the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court take serious action against the lawyers responsible for the attack.

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