16 August, 2008

Photographers assaulted !

The continuing roughing up of reporters by these ruffians does not help the image of PKR, even though the leadership does not endorse the thuggish behaviour. All parties including PAS have their security staff but PKR has got the worst reputation. Instead of being defensive, claiming they are unsure whether these are PKR men, the party leaders should just enforce better discipline and organise these personnels more effectively.

Two press photographers were assaulted by about 30 people wearing Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) T-shirts during the nomination for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election Saturday, resulting in one of them taking a severe beating and losing his RM15,000 digital camera.

The mob had set upon Mohd Sairen Mohd Nafis, 26, of the New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad (NSTP), when he was photographing Barisan Nasional (BN) workers while standing on a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

He said the crowd pulled him off the vehicle and he fell to the ground and "I was dragged for about 15 metres before being punched, slapped and kicked in the head, hands, legs and body".

The assault went on for 10 minutes before Halim Berbar, a foreign press photographer, went to his aid, and Halim too was beaten up by the mob, Mohd Sairen said.

Both photographers were rescued by the police and Mohd Sairen, who was injured in the hands and body, lost his camera.

Deputy Prime Minister and BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is the BN election director, advised both photographers to lodge police reports to facilitate an investigation.

"I urge the authorities to take the appropriate measures to ensure that such an incident is not repeated," he told reporters after a meeting with the BN election machinery in Jalan Tanah Liat, here.

Penang PKR secretary Abdul Malik Abul Kassim had given an assurance several days ago there would be no repeat of assault of journalists following an incident involving Guang Ming Daily photographer Loh Hooi Hoon who was allegedly roughed up by PKR supporters when she covered Anwar's ceramah here on Aug 3.

On Aug 4, Guang Ming Daily photographer Loh Hoay Hoon, 25, lodged a police report saying she was assaulted by a group of people the previous night as she was leaving after covering a ceramah (political address) by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

She claimed that PKR supporters had tailed her to the carpark after the public forum around midnight and surrounded her, adding that she was kicked, choked and hit on the head.


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