ISLAMABAD (AP) – An international media rights group on Friday raised concern over the brief arrest of a Pakistani journalist this week for allegedly carrying a gun while reporting a court case in the capital, saying Pakistani authorities should investigate abuses of the law to stop harassment of media workers. .
In a statement, the International Journalists Federation said Ehtisham Kiyani was arrested Wednesday “on false charges of allegedly carrying a weapon at the Islamabad High Court.”
Kiyani, who works for Pakistan TV station Channel 24, denied the allegations and was released the same day following protests from fellow journalists.
His arrest is the latest in a crackdown on journalists in Pakistan. It comes 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 requests for comment on 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 law and a direct violation of journalists’ rights.”
Kiyani was arrested while covering a corruption case against Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of ailing former prime minister of the country, 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 the Pakistani government insists on supporting free speech, journalists and supporters of freedom of the press often accuse the country’s military and its agencies of pressing media channels to cancel critical coverage.
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