Ban on sale of newspapers in North Waziristan
PESHAWAR: No newspapers were sold across North Waziristan on Wednesday because of a two-day ban on the sale of newspapers by militants after an erroneous news report on Monday claimed that four militants were killed in a clash with security forces near Mir Ali town.
“No newspaper was distributed or sold anywhere in (North) Waziristan today,” Haji Pazir, the sole distributor of most Urdu and English newspapers in Miranshah, told Daily Times by phone.
“I am abiding by the ban. I have received some bundles of newspapers but did not open them. I don’t want to annoy these people (militants),” Pazir said.
The local tribal militants, popularly known as Taliban, imposed the two-day ban on the sale of newspapers against what they called “irresponsible journalism” after the BBC Urdu Service posted a stale story on its website on Monday. A local news agency lifted the story and distributed it to all Pakistani newspapers, which they ran on their front pages. The story was about a clash between security forces and militants months ago in which four militants were killed, but the BBC ran it as a fresh story.
An administration official in Miranshah said he received no newspaper on Wednesday.
Asked what the administration was doing to enforce the state writ, he laughed and said: “President Pervez Musharraf says in Islamabad ‘Pakistan first’, but we in Miranshah say ‘our skin first’.” The incident exposed the government claims that the September 5 accord did not help the militants grow in size and influence. “Literally, we are ruled by people who only understand the language of force. There is nothing like government in Miranshah,” said a lecturer of a college who did not wish to be named. The Taliban Shura will meet on Friday to discuss the ban on the sale of newspapers, said local journalists in Miranshah. “We don’t know if they will lift the ban.”
Meanwhile, senior tribal journalists are discussing steps to avoid such incidents in the future. “We may address a news conference to call on newspaper and news agency editors to be very careful while dealing with stories concerning Waziristan,” a senior journalist told Daily Times.
On Tuesday, militants burnt newspapers and briefly detained a journalist. “We don’t want to revisit the situation,” the journalist said. “One has to keep in mind that any story that the Taliban don’t like can cause harm to journalists in Waziristan. Please, take care while publishing reports about Waziristan,” the journalist appealed to editors.Tribal journalist also hinted that they could demand compensation from the BBC.
Source: Daily Times