JournalismPakistan.com May 16, 2014
NEW YORK: The Committee to Protect Journalists says the looming expulsion of two Indian journalists from Pakistan runs counter to recent commitments the government made during meetings with a CPJ delegation in March.
In a March 19 meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the delegation, "We must make Pakistan accessible to journalists." He directed Tariq Fatemi, special assistant on foreign affairs, to resolve the issue of visa restrictions for foreign journalists. In a follow-up meeting the next day, Information Secretary Nazir Saeed committed to taking up the issue.
"CPJ left Pakistan with the sense that the government was ready to reverse many of its predecessors' positions against the press," CPJ said Thursday.
Meena Menon, a correspondent for The Hindu, and Snehesh Alex Philip, a correspondent for the Press Trust of India, were both been asked to leave the country within seven days.
The journalists received letters on May 13 from the the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage that informed them their visas would not be renewed. No reason was given for the decision.
Both journalists were first informed of the authorities' decision on May 8, but were not officially notified for several days.
Menon and Philip, who have been in Pakistan for less than a year, are the only Indian press working in Pakistan, part of an arrangement between the two countries that allows two correspondents from each country to be posted in the other's capital.
The CPJ said that a sure way to demonstrate the Pakistan government's commitments would be to grant both Meena Menon and Snehesh Alex Philip visa renewals so they may continue their work," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator.
"Foreign journalists like Menon and Philip are essential to providing the international community with a deeper understanding of newsworthy events in Pakistan." - CPJ
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