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IFJ urges interior minister to report on attacks against journalists

(IFJ/IFEX) - May 23, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in urging Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, to request that provincial governments provide status reports on investigations into attacks against journalists in Pakistan.

"The IFJ calls on Minister Malik and his provincial counterparts to conduct an urgent appraisal of investigations by local authorities into the murders of journalists, and to make public a report stating the progress of such investigations," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

The call comes as the PFUJ and its constituent district unions step up protests at the lack of action to address an alarming deterioration in the security situation for journalists in the country.

The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, organised nation-wide demonstrations on May 21 to demand action on the car-bomb murder of senior tribal journalist Nasrullah Afridi in Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on May 10.

PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat, who led the demonstration in Islamabad, said he had written to Minister Malik requesting that he seek reports from all provincial chief secretaries and police chiefs to assess the status of inquiries into killings of journalists. However, the PFUJ said in a statement that the federal Government had not yet sought this advice from the provinces.

The demonstrations also voiced criticism of media owners and their representative bodies for neglecting safety issues for their personnel. Among demands placed before media owners were the need for regular safety training for journalists, proper compensation for the families of those killed and comprehensive insurance coverage for journalists working in hazardous situations.

In Peshawar, where Afridi lived and worked, the Khyber Union of Journalists, the Tribal Union of Journalists and the Peshawar Press Club issued a joint resolution in memory of Afridi before conducting their protest.

PFUJ secretary-general Amin Yousuf joined the Peshawar protest, stressing the need for unity among working journalists in this hour of acute crisis.

"The IFJ further calls for a constructive dialogue involving all responsible sides, including media owners and governments at the provincial and federal levels, to find a way to create more secure working conditions for journalists," Park said.

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  • Tribal journalist killed in bomb blast

    It is believed Nasrullah Khan Afridi was targeted because of his investigative reporting on militant organisations in Pakistan's Tribal region.

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