LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested journalist Rizwanur Rehman Razi from his Lahore residence on Saturday and booked him for posting “defamatory and obnoxious” content against the judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies on his social media account.
The journalist, who also hosts a programme at Din News, was charged under The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
Razi’s son, Osama told AP that armed men in plainclothes had been roaming outside their residence and they called his father outside.
After an argument, they dumped him in a car and took him away, Osama said. Later in the day, the FIA confirmed Razi’s arrest on a charge of violating the country’s cybercrime law.
The FIA contests version of Razi’s son in an FIR dated Feb 8, saying Razi was “summoned” to join the inquiry and have his statement recorded.
The FIR claims that the accused “admitted” to uploading content against the judiciary and other departments, and was “very embarrassed” and had even apologised.
Razi, as per the FIA’s FIR, promised that he would “not upload such derogatory/humiliating posts” against states institutions such as the judiciary, Pakistan Army, and intelligence agencies.
An FIA official said Razi was booked for tweeting against state agencies, despite being warned and having submitted an apology in the past. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Arshad Ansari, president of Lahore Press Club, condemned the incident and demanded Razi’s safe return.
Journalists and press freedom advocates say the country’s security agencies are pressuring media outlets to quash critical coverage.
The newly elected government is meanwhile slashing its advertising budget, squeezing a key source of revenue for private newspapers and TV stations.