Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) demands journalists safety
PESHAWAR- The Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has asked the Interior Minister, Moinuddin Haider to “ensure the safety of journalists working in NWFP and guarantee the right to inform and to be informed.” The group asked the minister to inform the competent authorities that The Frontier Post web site was no longer “censored” and to ensure that the staff members of the daily were released during the investigation, led by the government.
“The Pakistan government must respect the law and have it respected in the whole territory. The sealing of the newspaper and the arrest of the editorial board are disproportionate sanctions,” noted Robert Menard, General-Secretary RSF, in a protest letter made available here.
According to the information collected by RSF, on January 31, demonstrators assaulted press photographers in the streets of Peshawar. While covering the demonstrations by Jamaat-e-Islami, Haider Shah from The News daily and Shahzad from the Al-Akhbar, were beaten with batons.
The rioters were ransacking a popular cinema in the centre of the town after burning down the printing press of the Frontier Post the day before and vandalizing several buildings, among them the Peshawar Press Club. Some journalists, especially from The Frontier Post, are living underground fearing they may be recognized by Islamists who demonstrate shouting, “Hang the culprits”.
An official of the provincial government confirmed to the RSF that The Frontier Post web site (www.frontierpost.com.pk) has been blocked by the authorities. The online version of the daily has not been available since January 31.
The same day, Kifayatullah, news editor of Maidan, an Urdu daily published by The Frontier Post group, and five of his staff members were arrested for a few hours by the police.
On February 1, police raided the Peshawar offices of the Urdu newspaper Jasarat, linked to Jamaat-e-Islami. The daily had just published extracts of the blasphemous letter. The authorities accused the newspaper of trying to fuel demonstrations against The Frontier Post.
Source: Business Recorder