Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demands release of three newsmen
ISLAMABAD- The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called for the immediate release of three journalists, who were arrested on Oct 5 by authorities in the Khyber Agency along with two French journalists working for the Paris-based television news channel (LCI).
They included Rifatullah Orkazai, a reporter for the Peshawar-based Khyber Mail; Muhammad Iqbal Afridi, district correspondent of daily Al Akhbar; and Syed Karim, a stringer for daily Khabrain.
The French journalists Olivier Ravanello, a reporter, and Jirtme Macantetti, a cameraman were released with out charges on Oct 8 after officials from the French embassy intervened. However, the local journalist remains jailed on the orders of the Political Agent of Khyber Agency, Dr. Fida Wazir.
Political agents, exercise virtually unchecked power in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which include Khyber Agency, and have routinely used their authority to punish journalists for their reporting.
No charges have been filed against any of the three detained journalist, and it is believed that the reporters were arrested merely for carrying out their professional duty.
In a letter to the Governor of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the CPJ urged to use his influence to ensure that Orkazai, Afridi, and Karim were granted immediate and unconditional release.