Military denies seeking action against Dawn staffer

KARACHI: Pakistan’s military has not demanded action against the Daily Dawn and its staffer who penned a report about a conversation between a ruling party leader and chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence at a high level security meeting that took place on Oct 7 , Geo News quoted unnamed security officials as saying on Tuesday.
“We have never sought action against the newspaper and the journalist, we haven’t asked for putting anybody on ECL” Shahzeb Khanzada, host of Geo News current affairs show, quoted the military sources as saying.
The military officials said action was sought against those who leaked the highly sensitive information from an important meeting instead of those who reported the issue.
“We have reservations as to why the story was distorted,” the sources said.
Cyril Almeida, an assistant editor at Dawn, the country´s oldest English daily, announced early Tuesday he had been placed on the “Exit Control List”.
His report published on Thursday prompted threats on social media and was denied three times by the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in language branded by Amnesty as “chilling” and a “crude intimidation tactic designed to silence journalists”.
Mean while RMNP,APNS,dawn-stafferPFUJ,CPNE and Karachi Press Club has expressed deep concern over placing the name of DAWN correspondent Cyril Almieda on Exit Control List, ECL, without taking any legal court and demand its immediate withdrawal.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, KPC President Fazil Jamili and Secretary AH Khanzada termed the move from Ministry of Interior as ‘action in haste’ without even holding an inquiry into the matter.
The Ministry of Interior did not even followed the required legal course in this matter in putting someone name on the ECL, without a court order. In this case the story under question is of serious nature and the DAWN as well as the reporter concerned ‘stand by’ on the news.
Now, we urged both the government as well as DAWN, to take up this issue to the Press Council of Pakistan, PCP, which can also take suo moto, as all the representative bodies are members of PCP.
If the government want to take legal course against DAWN or the said correspondent, it has every legal right, but, before any judicial order any such move would mean putting undue pressure on the newspaper and harassment of the journalist.
Without any case of proper inquiry, putting the name of a journalist on ECL, would be considered as an attempt to suppress the media.
There is no doubt that in the last few years there have been decline in the standard of journalism and reporting particularly in the electronic media because of rising corporate culture. What we need is strong editorial oversight, editorial board and proper training.
Therefore, we urged the government to constitute Media Complaints Commission, MCC as per directive of the Supreme Court in Hamid Mir’s case and in the light of the draft send by the PFUJ in 2008. We also appeal to all the journalist bodies, senior editors and journalists unions to join hands to protect freedom of the Press and work for responsible journalism.

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