50 journalists fall prey to target killing in recent years: moot told

KARACHI: Secretary General Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) Owais Aslam Ali has said that over 50 journalists had become victim of target killing in recent years in Pakistan and there was always lack of proper investigation in our society when it came to investigating murder of a journalist.

“Only two out of 50 murder cases of journalists could be resolved in recent years in the country”, he said while speaking at the concluding session of a four-day workshop entitled “Safety and Security Training for Journalists”, organized by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in collaboration with Free Press Unlimited at a local hotel.

Chief Consultant PPF Kamila Marvi said: “Women in the field of journalism have more open exposure to society, as they have to work in the field where they face more sexual harassments.

Representative of Hyderabad Press Club Faheem Siddiqui suggested that a committee comprising at least two female should be formed in every press club to tackle sexual harassment issues, where every female journalist should report in case she faces any such problem.

Assistant Chief Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) Shabbar Malik said: “We should never take a threat as a joke because it could be very dangerous to us. Such a threat should immediately be reported to a nearby police station and you should get information about the criminals who are threatening you by getting help from intelligence agencies or CPLC.”

Clinical Psychologist Karwan-e-Hayat Muhammed Idrees said giving time to yourself out of your busy and strenuous life to enjoy with family and friends is really important for refreshment of mind.

He said life is so busy these days that people usually do not get time to improve their mental health which could result in a mental disorder. “There are many ways to get relief or minimize your mental stress such as conducting exercises, listing your problems and find their solutions.”

Idrees criticized media for exposing severe injuries publicly which could lead to anxiety and depression in the society.

Manager Research Bytes for All, Pakistan, Faheem Zafar, said it is highly risky for journalists to leave their digital access unsecured, specially, mobile phone was the most vulnerable device to be easily traced through which your complete information could be looked into.

“Journalists are the mirror of society and they have to tell the truth, so there could be many possible enemies who could penetrate their digital accounts to get their personal information and misuse that,” he observed.

Zafar said there are several softwares and applications which could help encounter cyber threats, such as Spybot which could help in leaving no trace to be located by others, while Firewall would tell you what is entering your computer and what is going out of it without getting notice of it.

He said Chrome and Firefox are reliable browsers, therefore, using Internet Explorer should be avoided, while in e-mail services Hotmail and Yahoo are the most vulnerable services, although Gmail is relevantly better. The manager said opening website with writing https in browser is more secure rather than http which is unsecure.

A trainer of Bytes for All, Furhan Hussain, said always check your Facebook privacy settings from time to time as they very often change it without giving any notification which could expose your private things and posts.

“In case there is a threat from cyber crimes to you or somebody is bothering you on mobile which is usually faced by females then FIA could be contacted as they have a cyber wing to deal with these kinds of troubles which is very effective and efficient,” he said. “Readiness of mind has a key importance for a person at the time of emergency or disaster to apply safety measures and rescue his own life and, if gets chance, others’ as well,” said master trainer and ex-commandant of Federal Civil Defence Training School (FCDTS) Sarfaraz Ahmed Jafri .

He said there was no alternative for a human life, therefore, it was always necessary to save it first. “Disaster or emergency mostly occur suddenly so, one should always be prepared for that and keep a first aid kit with him at home and while travelling away.” Jafri said at the time of emergency you need to check ABC (airway, breathing and circulation) of the victim. “Apply direct pressure to the wound and wash it thoroughly, however if something for example shrapnel or bullet shell penetrates body, it should not be pulled out because bleeding would be uncontrollable if it was pulled out.”

Senior trainer, Sub-Inspector Gul Awan said nobody should come closer to the crime scene or try to touch things around but law-enforcement agencies, because everything, if placed as it was right after the crime, could tell about the criminals through forensic evidences, and the threat of a secondary blast was always looming there. You may cover it closely after the police had completed their investigation.

“Always keep a way out first in your mind before entering any mobbed area. Do not try to run during crossfire but take shelter behind something solid or lay down straight because it is difficult for targeting a person lying down from a distance,” he said.

A DSP, on the occasion, said law-making was direly needed in the society as we were still following slavery-era law (British) in which direct FIR was reported without prior investigation which meant that now the accused could only get bail through court.

Another trainer, Muhammed Javed said if proofs were not lost by crowd’s involvement and police got full chance to work over crime scene then the case could easily be solved.

Principal Police Training College, SP Javed, lauded the initiative taken by PPF for educating journalists about crime scene and said that the training center was always opened for such workshops.

Senior Trainer FCDTS Altaf Hussain Dada, Senior Coordinator PPF Musawir Shahid, Coordinator PPF Naseem Akhter Shaikh, representatives of Hyderabad Press Club, Khuzdar Press Club, Quetta Press Club, Larkana Press Club Mirpurkhas Press Club and Nawabshah Press Club and local media were also present on the occasion.

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