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TV reporter assaulted, receives death threats after reporting on lynching

(PPF/IFEX) - Hafiz Muhammad Imran, a reporter from the Dunya News TV channel in Sialkot, was assaulted by unidentified persons outside his residence on August 29, 2010. The attack was supposedly because on August 15, Imran filmed the beating death of two brothers by an enraged mob. The mob then hung their bodies from trees.

According to press reports, Imran was standing in front of his residence when two motorcyclists pushed him against a wall, resulting in fractures to his shoulders. The attackers escaped when other people started to gather at the scene. Imran was moved to a hospital, where the doctors gave him treatment for his injuries. Imran and his family members have been receiving death threats from unknown callers.

Imran said that on August 22, Pakistan Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik had ordered the police to provide security for him and other Sialkot-based journalists, but no security has yet been provided to them.

On August 28, the Lahore High Court Chief Justice (CJ) issued notices to the Punjab Police seeking protection for the reporter and cameraman who filmed the lynching. The petition was filed by the Electronic Media Reporters Association (EMRA), saying Imran and a cameraman, Bilal Khan, who covered the tragic episode, were facing death threats.

Sialkot journalists have expressed grave concern over the police negligence in providing security to journalists in Sialkot.

Hajipura Station House Officer (SHO) Rana Zahid said the police had arrested someone for attacking Imran. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah strongly condemns the incident and confirmed that media freedom will be guaranteed. He said that the inquiry report into the incident will be made public.

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