ISLAMABAD - Police on Sunday subjected to brutal torture the journalists doing their duty in the Red (battle) Zone, seriously injuring more than seven of them while many others received minor injuries.

Some journalists reportedly were also attacked by protesters, who alleged that a section of media was following government agenda and was depicting distorted picture of the battleground.

In the police assault, which apparently came with permission (if not order) of the high government authorities, even technical staff of TV vans was dragged out and baton charged mercilessly.

Police torture on journalists has embarrassed the government; this is a criminal mindset which is undermining the government's case, said Railways Minister Saad Rafique during his visit to Constitution Avenue after ‘Jwaans’ of Punjab Police had already ‘settled score’ with many media men.

“Officers involved in this brutality will definitely be brought to the book and I will bring this matter into the notice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan,” Rafique said in an apologetic tone. The minister was short of words as police damaged TV vehicles and thrashed media men even in his presence.

The interior minister had also already taken stock of the ground situation in the morning on the Constitution Avenue, where police and protesters belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) had been fighting the whole night and were still engaged in pitched battles. First episode of assault on journalists too had already taken place by that time.

According to eyewitnesses, police vehemently tortured reporters and camera men of various TV channels. When they tried to take refuge in their vans, they were dragged out and mercilessly beaten up with clubs and fists. The engineers and other technical staff of DSNGs too were not spared.

This is not the first time that police has tortured journalists while they were carrying out their duties. Torture from law enforcing agencies, threats from politicians, spy agencies, and mafias has become so common that now people even don't discuss it seriously.

Some analysts believe it is due to the prevailing culture of violence in the society. Police thought media is showing their all brutality, so the police vented their anger by beating journalists mercilessly knowing they will not be punished or held responsible for their act, said journalist Talaat Hussain.

It is a big failure of government, they have not learnt anything from Model Town (Lahore) incident, and it is not government alone, It is a typical mindset, if you cannot change some story, close it down; Imran Khan talks about dragging PM or punching on his face, or making pants wet, while Tahirul Qadri is digging graves, asking to recite last prayers, they all are creating a terror, and when media shows reality, which does not suit them they try to stop it with violence, Hussain explained.

Senior journalists believe journalist bodies and organisations have failed to protect the rights and lives of their members. “Today's incident hurt me deeply, but this has become routine now, it is very unfortunate that nobody does take any action, this type of sad incidents happens and we simply move on, all representing bodies have failed and neither culprits are punished nor even exposed", said Journalist Absar Alam.

Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries of the world to practice journalism. According to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders report. The country was placed on 158th rank of press freedom index. Journalists not only work in unfavourable conditions but also been harassed and tortured.