Pakistani media protest after journalist attacked

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani journalists covering parliament walked out of the assembly on Tuesday to protest against an attack on a reporter working for a private television channel.

Spurred by new technology and unrestrained by censors, Pakistan’s media, in particular television, have flourished over the past 10 years with dozens of new channels springing up.

But despite a significant degree of media freedom, attacks on journalists do take place.

Suspected Taliban militants sent a suicide bomber to attack a press club in the city of Peshawar last month.

Some reporters suspect other attacks on individual journalists have been carried out by members of security agencies angered by particular news reports.

Early on Tuesday unknown men threw stones and bricks at the house of Azaz Syed, a reporter with the Dawn television channel, Syed and his colleagues said. His car was damaged but no one was injured.

Syed declined to say who he thought might have been behind the attack but said he had filed reports critical of the military.

“They were not in favour of Pakistan’s military establishment,” he told his television station, referring to his reports.

He said he was about to file another report and had received a communication that he should not. He did not say from whom.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered an inquiry into the attack after Syed’s colleagues boycotted the National Assembly session and demanded the arrest of those responsible.

Criticism of the military, especially of any suggestion it is getting involved in politics, is common in Pakistan. Some sections of the media are also hostile towards President Asif Ali Zardari.

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