Pakistan Press Foundation asks for explanation from Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) why it has sent a notice to senior television anchor
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to provide an explanation for the basis of issuing a notice to senior anchorperson Nadeem Malik in connection with information he shared on an episode of his talk show “Nadeem Malik Live” on Samaa TV. PPF is concerned by this development which can be seen as a tool to encourage self-censorship amongst the media.
According to Dawn, in the episode Malik made a remark pertaining to the case of former accountability judge Arshad Malik and the video scandal he was involved in.
On July 2, the Counter Terrorism Wing of the FIA issues a notice to Malik regarding his programme on April 28. According to the notice, a copy of which was circulated on social media, the FIA found that the episode of Malik’s show “revealed” that he had “important information which can be relevant for the agency to further investigate” a certain case and to link “some relevant persons” to the case.
The notice issued under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code asked Malik to appear before the agency in Islamabad on July 6 at 11am.
PPF is concerned with the issuance of the notice to an anchorperson by the FIA as it is not the role of journalists to be informants for the intelligence authorities. The secrecy of identifies of sources is a basic value of the profession and to summon a journalist to provide information about sources is asking them to violate the basic ethics of the profession. It is not the responsibility of the media to assist the FIA in its investigation and by summoning Malik, the agency is misusing its authority to gain access to information that the anchorperson shared.
Such a move can also result in increasing self-censorship by creating fear of further notices being issued by agencies such as the FIA in connection with their investigations. It can also undermine the credibility of journalists with their sources fearing the disclosure of information they may have shared if a journalist is summoned.