‘Restricted movement of foreign journalists’: Ministry implementing directives to discourage propaganda against Pakistan
Ministry of Interior is implementing its directives on restricted movement of foreign journalists to ensure that propaganda against Pakistan in international media is discouraged which is hampering investment in the country, an official of Interior Ministry said while requesting anonymity.
Declan Walsh, a New York Times journalist based in Pakistan for nine years, was handed a two-sentence letter in the first week of May 2013 ordering him to leave the country. He is the third foreign journalist since 2007 expelled from Pakistan. Earlier, Wilkinson and Colin Freeman, working for The Telegraph were expelled for insulting remarks against former President Pervez Musharraf.
Foreign Office sources said that the decision to expel Walsh was taken by the Interior Ministry and it was based on what the Ministry termed as ‘objectionable’ and ‘biased’ reporting as well as visiting restricted areas without obtaining a no Objection Certificate. Sources in Interior Ministry said that Declan Walsh was under surveillance of law enforcement agencies for his alleged contacts with anti-state elements and his frequent travels to no-go areas. He was expelled after the surveillance team concluded that he was engaged in “undesirable activities,” sources said.
President, Pakistan Federation of Union of Journalist (PFUJ) Pervaiz Shaukat, said foreign media must follow the rules and regulations laid down for them. “We respect rules and regulations of foreign countries while travelling abroad. Foreign media must also give some respect to our Government’s rules,” he said.
Shaukat added that ISPR and Ministry of Interior should have been approached by Walsh prior to his proceeding to restricted areas. In recent years, Pakistan military even banned the movement of local journalists to trouble areas and other areas where military operations were launched. But foreign media with the help of local journalists (stringers) tried to access objectionable material for their international publication, violating the laid down rules, an office-bearer of National Press Club said.
Source: Business Recorder