Call to stop harassment of journalists


LAHORE: Following attempts to malign academician Dr Arfana Mallah and the FIR lodged against journalist Shahzeb Jillani, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Saturday expressed its alarm at the frequency with which human rights defenders and journalists are made the subject of propaganda amounting to incitement.

In a statement, HRCP said that it stands in solidarity with both Dr Mallah and Jilani. The fact that an unverified news item implying that Dr Mallah expressed “anti-state” sentiments was broadcast by the channel 92 News is troubling. In addition, the FIR lodged against Jilani under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, accusing him of casting aspersions on state institutions, is baseless and absurd.

‘While 92 News has already apologised to Dr Mallah, HRCP urges the channel and all media houses to institute higher reporting and verification standards, especially given that civil society voices are already subject to intimidation and harassment at the slightest provocation. HRCP also demands that the FIR against Jilani be quashed: questioning a journalist’s “loyalty” or “patriotism” for having criticised state institutions must cease to be the norm.’