Journalism Pakistan
Newsroom Pakistan: Anchor Ayesha Jahanzaib reconciles with husband, drops charges in courtNewsroom Pakistan: Police disrupt PFUJ meeting, arrest hotel manager in GujranwalaNewsroom Pakistan: Journalist Jahanzaib Ali stands firm after backlash over Pentagon questionDigital Connections: Exploring the impact of social media on mental healthWorld: Wall Street Journal fires Hong Kong Journalists Association's chairpersonNewsroom Pakistan: Arshad Sharif's widow reveals harrowing details of his torture and murderNewsroom Pakistan: Censorship concerns as 'Redline with Talat' fails to airWorld: Russia sentences journalist Masha Gessen to eight years in absentia on 'fake' news chargesWomen in Media: Tunisian commentator Sonia Dahmani sentenced to one yearOpportunities: Nominations open for 2024 Free Press AwardsNewsroom Pakistan: PFUJ condemns murder of Aaj News reporter Malik Hassan ZaibNewsroom Pakistan: Motorcycle assailants kill journalist Malik Hassan Zaib in Nowshera

SAMDEN protests actions against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and The Wire

 JournalismPakistan.com |  Published April 04, 2020

Join our WhatsApp channel

SAMDEN protests actions against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and The Wire

NEW DELHI—Leading editors and media professionals from South Asia on Saturday protested actions against the media in Pakistan and India—the detention of Pakistani editor and publisher Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in Lahore and legal action against the independent Indian online portal, The Wire.

“The preoccupation of the world public and opinion makers with the COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier for those who want to try and gag critics in the media,” said the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN), which is anchored by co-convenors from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

While the harassment and imprisonment of journalists have been a distressing trend in all the countries of South Asia over the past few years, SAMDEN said, “we have seen a sudden escalation in such actions over the past few weeks.” It described the actions against Rahman and The Wire as “representative of a trend across the region.”

Mir Shakilur Rahman is the chief editor and proprietor of Pakistan’s largest media group, encompassing The News, Jang and Geo TV. The action against him is based on a 34-year old property transaction.

Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau detained Rahman, in violation of its own rules that do not allow arrest at the stage of verification. “The authorities appear to be dragging this case out to teach the media a lesson,” SAMDEN said.

Rahman’s arrest and detention follow a string of attacks on him and his media group and its journalists by the Pakistani authorities and non-state elements over the past years. Organizations such as Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Association of International Broadcasters have denounced this latest action.

Urgent appeals have been filed for his release to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

Editors of The Wire learnt of the case against their organization through social media. The First Information Report (FIR) registered by the police in Lucknow says that the online news organization reported that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath attended a public religious event in Ayodhya on March 25, after Prime Minister Modi had announced a national lockdown to counter the Coronavirus crisis.

“This report was factually correct and a matter of record, yet the police has made it the basis for a criminal case,” SAMDEN commented.

The Wire is one of a handful of India’s robust media voices. SAMDEN noted that the case came at a time when the central government has been trying to restrict media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The actions come at a time of heightened concern that rulers could use the COVID-19 crisis to suppress the news media, said SAMDEN, “at a time when South Asia and the world are facing an unprecedented public health challenge.”

“Such cases undermine the media at a time that it needs to be strengthened.”

SAMDEN, founded in 2017, has a membership of over 50 media professionals, including editors, reporters, right to information specialists, bloggers, and authors from across South Asia, Australia, and the UK. It is anchored in the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

Its co-convenors are Kanak Mani Dixit, Founder Editor of Himal magazine, Nepal, Mahfuz Anam, Publisher and Editor of the Daily Star of Bangladesh, Kumar Lopez, Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Press Institute, Beena Sarwar, Boston-based editor and filmmaker from Pakistan, and Sanjoy Hazarika, writer, columnist and international director of CHRI.

Anchor Ayesha Jahanzaib reconciles with husband, drops charges in court

Anchor Ayesha Jahanzaib reconciles with husband, drops charges in court

 July 19, 2024:  TV anchor Ayesha Jahanzaib has reconciled with her husband and withdrawn the domestic violence case against him in a Lahore court....

Police disrupt PFUJ meeting, arrest hotel manager in Gujranwala

Police disrupt PFUJ meeting, arrest hotel manager in Gujranwala

 July 19, 2024:  Press freedom faced another setback in Pakistan as police disrupted the PFUJ's Federal Executive Council meeting in Gujranwala, in...

Journalist Jahanzaib Ali stands firm after backlash over Pentagon question

Journalist Jahanzaib Ali stands firm after backlash over Pentagon question

 July 19, 2024:  Pakistani journalist Jahanzaib Ali faces backlash after posing a question at a Pentagon briefing about potential foreign involveme...

Arshad Sharif's widow reveals harrowing details of his torture and murder

Arshad Sharif's widow reveals harrowing details of his torture and murder

 July 17, 2024:  Arshad Sharif's widow, in a heartbreaking interview on Naya Pakistan channel, detailed the gruesome torture and execution of her h...

Censorship concerns as 'Redline with Talat' fails to air

Censorship concerns as 'Redline with Talat' fails to air

 July 17, 2024:  Syed Talat Hussain's television program 'Redline with Talat' on Samaa TV did not air as scheduled, raising concerns about censorsh...

PFUJ condemns murder of Aaj News reporter Hassan Zaib

PFUJ condemns murder of Aaj News reporter Hassan Zaib

 July 14, 2024:  The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemns the murder of Hassan Zaib, an Aaj News reporter, and demands immediate g...

Motorcycle assailants kill journalist Malik Hassan Zaib in Nowshera

Motorcycle assailants kill journalist Malik Hassan Zaib in Nowshera

 July 14, 2024:  In Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, journalist Malik Hassan Zaib was shot and killed by motorcycle assailants. The Khyber Union of Jo...

Suno TV censors PTI leader Zartaj Gul's scarf featuring Imran Khan

Suno TV censors PTI leader Zartaj Gul's scarf featuring Imran Khan

 July 13, 2024:  In a blatant display of media censorship, Suno TV blurred images of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on a scarf worn by PTI leader...

Newsroom
Wall Street Journal fires Hong Kong Journalists Association's chairperson

Wall Street Journal fires Hong Kong Journalists Association's chairperson

 July 18, 2024 Selina Cheng, recently elected chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), was terminated from her position at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) following pressure to withdraw from the union's election. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns her dismissal.

Russia sentences journalist Masha Gessen to eight years in absentia on 'fake' news charges

Russia sentences journalist Masha Gessen to eight years in absentia on 'fake' news charges

 July 16, 2024 The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Russian authorities to stop prosecuting exiled journalist Masha Gessen and drop all charges. Gessen was convicted in absentia for disseminating 'fake' information about the Russian military and sentenced to eight years in jail.

Global media giants thrive in Asia's dynamic market

Global media giants thrive in Asia's dynamic market

 July 16, 2024 Discover how international media networks are expanding all over Asia, changing the entertainment landscape of the region, and both getting new opportunities and new challenges—an in-depth look.

Tunisian commentator Sonia Dahmani sentenced to one year

Tunisian commentator Sonia Dahmani sentenced to one year

 July 16, 2024 The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the sentencing of Tunisian lawyer and political commentator Sonia Dahmani to one year in prison for her political commentary. CPJ calls for Dahmani's immediate release, denouncing the move as an attack on independent journalism ahead of the October presidential elections.

Nominations open for 2024 Free Press Awards

Nominations open for 2024 Free Press Awards

 July 15, 2024 Nominations for the 2024 Free Press Awards are now open! Honor journalists dedicated to press freedom and independent reporting by nominating them for the Most Resilient Journalist Award or the Newcomer of the Year Award.