USA

Media rights group denounces arrest of Pakistani journalist

ISLAMABAD (AP) — An international media rights group on Friday voiced concern over the brief arrest of a Pakistani journalist this week for allegedly carrying weapons while reporting on a court case in the capital, saying Pakistani authorities should investigate the misuse of law in order to stop the harassment of media workers.

In a statement, the International Federation of Journalists said Ehtisham Kiyani was arrested Wednesday “on false charges for allegedly bearing weapons in Islamabad’s High Court.”

Kiyani, who works for the Pakistani TV station Channel 24, denied the charges and was freed the same day following a protest from fellow journalists.

His arrest was the latest in what appears to be a crackdown on journalists in Pakistan. It came two weeks after authorities arrested a journalist, Bilal Farooq, in the port city of Karachi on charges of spreading hateful content against the military on social media. Two other journalists, Asad Tooq and Absar Alam, were recently charged with sedition.

Pakistani authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

The International Federation of Journalists said the “arbitrary arrest of journalists and media workers on questionable and false charges is an abuse of power and the law and a direct violation of journalist rights.”

Kiyani was arrested while covering a corruption case against Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the country’s ailing former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif has been in London since last November, when he was released on bail to seek medical treatment abroad. He was previously sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption and money laundering charges.

Although Pakistan’s government insists it supports freedom of speech, journalists and press freedom advocates often accuse the country’s military and its agencies of pressuring media outlets to quash critical coverage.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Football news:

Hans-Dieter flick: I Hope Alaba will sign a contract with Bayern. Our club is one of the best in the world
Diego Maradona: Messi gave Barca everything, brought them to the top. He was not treated the way he deserved
Federico Chiesa: I hope to leave my mark in Juve. We will achieve great results
The Coach Of Benfica: I don't want us to look like the current Barcelona, it has nothing
Guardiola on returning to Barca: I'm happy at Manchester City. I hope to stay here
Fabinho will not play with West ham due to injury
Ronald Koeman: Maradona was the best in his time. Now the best Messi