IFJ Protests Over the Ongoing Culture of Harassment of Journalists in Pakistan.

The International Federation of Journalists has sent a letter of protest to the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf expressing its concern over the ongoing culture of harassment of journalists in Pakistan.


The IFJ has protested to the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, in the following letter:


15 December 2003


General Pervez Musharraf

President and Chief Executive of Pakistan


Via Email: CE@pak.gov.pk



Dear General Musharraf,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the current trends of harassment and intimidation of journalists in Pakistan.


According to our information, the Pakistani Federal Minister for Information recently made a statement claiming that the Pakistani media is open and free. The IFJ’s affiliate in Pakistan, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), disputes this, arguing that intimidation, coercion, arrests and harassment of journalists are common in Pakistan.


According to the PFUJ, a number of journalists in Pakistan have been arrested on various charges, harassed or intimidated during the last three years. The practice of issuing press advice still exists and intimidation, implicit or explicit, from the press departments continues to occur.


As an example of this culture of intimidation, we understand that earlier this month, Mr. Aamir Meer, journalist from the monthly Herald of the Dawn Group in Lahore, had his car set ablaze by unidentified people, while it was parked outside his residence. Mr. Meer later received a message allegedly from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) claiming responsibility for the car and warning of further action.


We understand that in a reception for newspaper editors on 20 November 2003, you condemned the Herald for being “anti-military” and “working against the national interest.” We further understand that you argued that the time had come for the Herald and Mr. Meer to be “dealt with.”


The IFJ reminds you that as the chief of state, it is imperative for you to set the tone for a free and open press in Pakistan. These comments attributed to you on 20 November do nothing but fuel the culture of harassment and intimidation of journalists and media in Pakistan. We call on you to immediately withdraw these comments and apologise immediately to Mr. Meer and the Herald.


Further, the IFJ calls on the Government of Pakistan to make a clear commitment to press freedom and work to ensure that harassment and intimidation of journalists in Pakistan cease immediately.


Yours sincerely,




Christopher Warren

President, IFJ



cc Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting

Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed


Via Email: infominister@infopak.gov.pk


Recommended action:


Send appeals:


  • Expressing concern over the threats and intimidation against journalist, Mr. Aamir Meer

  • Urging the Government of Pakistan to launch full investigations into these events

  • Remind the Government of Pakistan to respect the independence and freedom of the Pakistani press.



    Appeals:


    General Pervez Musharraf

    President and Chief Executive of Pakistan

    Via Email: CE@pak.gov.pk


    Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting

    Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

    Via Email: a href="mailto:infominister@infopak.gov.pk">infominister@infopak.gov.pk



    For more information please contact Jacqui Park at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au


    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au