Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Pakistan: Journalists threatened after questioning role of military

Source: IFEX

2 January 2012

(PPF/IFEX) - Najam Sethi, editor of the weekly “Friday Times” and the host of a popular Urdu-language political program “Aapas Ki Baat” on Geo News TV Network, and Jugnu Mohsin, also a “Friday Times” editor, received threatening messages after raising questions over the military's role in their respective television shows.

Sethi told PPF that he had received the threats over the past few years but the threats to him and his family in early 2011 forced him to leave the country. Sethi said he recently spent several months in the U.S. He said the threats had become more alarming in the last few months of 2011, so he decided to go public.

According to press reports, Sethi and Mohsin suspect the threats have emanated both from “non-state and state actors”. Threats came a week after journalist Hamid Mir, senior anchor of the Geo News TV Network, also claimed that he had received threatening messages from the “security establishment”.

In his message to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Sethi said that he and Mohsin have decided to return to Pakistan and dig their heels in. He said he made a formal statement on his Geo News TV show regarding various threats to his family and him since 2007, but especially in 2011.

In his Geo News TV program, Sethi said he had informed various media bodies at home and abroad about the specific nature of the threats, but preferred not to say more for the moment. He said his family and he would hold certain organizations and persons, regardless of their sensitivity or rank, responsible in the event they were harmed in any way.

The Interior Ministry had issued a notice in 2011 to all police and some international organizations regarding the threats to Sethi and his family.