KARACHI: The International Federal of Journalists (IFJ) has urged upon the Pakistani authorities to withdraw the cases against Imran Riaz Khan and cease the use of government mechanisms to harass journalists and media workers.
In a statement issued today, the IFJ said Pakistani authorities registered four cases against TV anchor and vlogger Imran Riaz Khan for allegedly publishing material critical of state institutions before his arrest on July 5. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Pakistan affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), urge the government to withdraw the cases against the journalist.
It said the cases against Imran Riaz Khan were filed with police in numerous areas of Punjab, all with similar charges. Several residents submitted applications to register the First Information Reports (FIRs), alleging that the journalist was inciting anti-national sentiments by disparaging the Pakistan Army and state institutions, and later he was arrested by Attock Police.
The IFJ statement cited its South Asia Press Freedom Report 2021-2022, according to which “two-thirds of the complainants invoking the PECA law against journalists are private citizens, with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials the second highest initiator of complaints.”
“Opinions or criticism of the military and the intelligence agencies is the most frequent complaint against journalists,” said the report.
The IFJ said: “As the number of cases lodged against journalists increases in Pakistan, the IFJ urges the Pakistani authorities to withdraw the cases against Imran Riaz Khan and cease the use of government mechanisms to harass journalists and media workers.”