The Cyber Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) briefly held a TV anchorperson of Sindh TV on Wednesday to interrogate him over accusations of online harassment and blackmail.
According to officials of the agency, KTN TV anchorperson Sahar Shah Rizvi had approached the FIA with a complaint of online harassment and blackmailing at the hands of Sindh TV anchorperson Irshad Jagirani.
The woman also alleged in a Facebook video that the suspect was harassing and blackmailing her through social media on the basis of her selfies taken on different occasions.
The FIA officials, requesting anonymity, said that they have obtained "evidence" from the suspect’s cell phone. The officials said they confiscated his cell phone. They said that the suspect also confessed his involvement in harassing the anchorperson, said to be a former colleague of his.
An official of the FIA told Dawn that the suspect was let go after initial formalities were completed but legal proceedings against him would continue.
He said that an FIR has not been registered so far. However, an inquiry has been initiated over the woman's complaint and due process will continue as evidence obtained from the suspect’s cell phone has been sent for forensic examination.
When asked about reports that the suspect was released after a written apology tendered by him was accepted by the complainant, the FIA official expressed his unawareness in the matter and said that the complainant could pardon the suspect, if she wished to do so.
"Since the offence was non-cognisable, the held anchorperson was released," he explained.
Meanwhile, journalists' bodies and management of Sindh TV recorded their protest against a raid of the agency at the channel's office to take the suspect into custody.
Sindh TV’s director of current affairs, Fayaz Naich, told Dawn that they consider the FIA raid on their head office as a "violation of the sanctity of the media house".
He said if the FIA had asked the channel, they would have handed over custody of the anchorperson to them for investigation. He said the channel supports the complainant anchorperson but they view the FIA raid as a "continuation of attacks on media" in the country.
Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) President Ashraf Khan and General Secretary Ahmed Khan Malik in a joint statement said that the FIA raid on the media house was aimed at "suppressing the freedom of expression".
“If there was any charge against any individual, institutions should have dealt with it as an individual case instead of raiding the media house and harassing media workers,” said the journalists’ body.
Reporters covering proceedings of the Sindh Assembly also boycotted the session for some time in protest against the raid on the media house.