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IFJ enraged by MRC’s threat to journalists

May 26, 2007


KARACHI, May 25: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed resentment over a press release issued on May 22 by the Mohajir Rabita Council (MRC) that “included a list of journalists described as chauvinistic, among other insults”.

A statement issued by IFJ said: “It is alleged that the list included Zaffar Abbas (resident editor, Dawn, Islamabad), Mazhar Abbas (AFP bureau chief in Karachi), Azhar Abbas (DawnNews TV channel), Ayaz Amir (Dawn), Sajid Mir (anchor of TV One), Shaheen Sehbai (head of ARY One World), Dr Shahid Masood (anchor of GEO TV), Aneeq Ahmed (anchor of ARY One World), Afsar Imam (Aaj TV), Zarar Khan (Bureau chief, AP, Karachi), Zahid Hussain (chief reporter, GEO) and Irfan Siddiqui (columnist, Nawa-i-Waqt).”

The statement condemned the MRC press release and called it “very disappointing”. “The last thing Pakistani journalists need is future generations of enemies being developed,” IFJ president Christopher Warren is quoted in the statement as saying.

“Threats such as these lead to self-censorship among journalists, which of course is the goal of the intimidators, but which is also a condition that governments who are committed to press freedom cannot allow to develop,” Mr Warren said.

“Journalists need to know that they will be protected from threats or attack, and the Pakistani government needs to step up and provide that protection,” he said.