IFJ Condemns the Use of Law to Censor Media in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries, has expressed deep concern over cases against seven Pakistani journalists that remain unresolved, despite the government’s promise to withdraw all charges.

‘Both the law and the media are integral aspects of a healthy democracy, and must be respected. The IFJ is deeply concerned about this misappropriation of the law, and the threat to press freedom that it creates,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.

The Sindh Home Minister Rauf Siddiqui has repeatedly assured the IFJ’s affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), that all cases against journalists would be dropped, but the charges have still not been withdrawn.

“This delay is unnecessary and unacceptable; the minister has promised to drop all cases against these journalists, but is refusing to take action to do so,” said the IFJ president.

Afzal Nadeem, a reporter for the daily Awam, has two cases against him, one registered under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), which carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.

Other journalists with cases still pending include Asad Ibne Hasa of the Daily News, Abdul Latif Abu Shamel and Yahya Bin Zakreya of the Weekly Friday Special, Mohammad Nasir Jehangiri of Zarb-e-Islam, Mohammad Tahir of the Weekly Wajood and Rasheed Channa.

Channa, a reporter with The Star, was held for 12 hours without any charge, and the cases against Nadeem and Asad have still not come before a court.

The IFJ and the PFUJ Executive Council jointly condemn the registration of these cases, and deplore the use of the criminal justice system as a pressure tactic to suppress press freedom in Pakistan.

“The IFJ congratulates the PFUJ for its hard work in pressuring the government to act on its promises and joins them in calling for the immediate withdrawal of all cases against these journalists,” said the IFJ president.

For more information please contact Christopher Warren +61 (0) 411 757 668

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries