IPI urges PM to ensure safety of six Pakistani journalists residing abroad

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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IPI urged PM Imran Khan to take swift action to investigate this memo and end any harassment of Pakistani journalists living abroad. — AFP/File
IPI urged PM Imran Khan to take swift action to investigate this memo and end any harassment of Pakistani journalists living abroad. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The International Press Institute (IPI) in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed its extreme concern for the safety of six Pakistani journalists currently living in Europe and America.

The IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists working for press freedom.

IPI deputy director Scott Griffen wrote that names of the six journalists living in the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States appeared in a “memo” — which was posted on social media channels — purportedly sent by an official of the interior ministry to the special assistant on information and broadcasting, the foreign ministry, the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other defence ministry officials.

The memo said these individuals were undermining Pakistan’s interests overseas.

It advised the foreign ministry and the ISI to follow the movements and social media accounts of the six journalists and to approach them “through proper channel” to stop the rhetoric against the country.

The IPI said if such a document accusing the journalists of indulging in activities against the country were to exist, it would indeed be a very disturbing development, as it would indicate that the government was engaging in surveillance and intimidation of Pakistani journalists residing outside the country.

“This would amount to a serious violation of press freedom,” said Mr Griffen.

Moreover, the letter added, the appearance of the document on social media placed the safety of these journalists, and their family members residing in Pakistan, at risk.

The IPI urged the prime minister to take swift action to investigate this memo and end any harassment of Pakistani journalists living abroad. “The government should also take necessary steps to protect the safety of the journalists on the list as well as their families in Pakistan,” it added.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020