Dera Ismail Khan district administration on Monday denied reports that two journalists were arrested for reporting their critical condition at the corona virus quarantine center established in the district.
DI Khan’s Deputy Commissioner, Muhammad Umair confirmed that two men were arrested for spreading “false information” about quarantine facilities and misleading the media and the general public, but he said that the two men were not linked to any media organizations.
However, senior journalist Nasim Zehra identified one of those detained, Tauqeer Zaidi, as a reporter for 24 HD News TV channel, where he himself runs the program. Journalist Hamid Mir also previously demanded the release of the two journalists on Twitter.
Azmat Shah, a 24 HD News The correspondent in Peshawar, also confirmed that Tauqeer had been linked to the channel and reported from DI Khan.
However, DC Umair accused the two detained men of “creating a law and order situation” in the district at a critical time. “We arrested them based on strong evidence and they failed to show a press card,” he said DawnNewsTV.
The deputy commissioner said that those arrested were not members of the local press club and accused them of “spreading propaganda” online. They were arrested under Part 3 of the Maintenance of the Order of Public Order (MPO).
According to the official, the two men were released on Monday, the day after they were arrested, after they submitted a written apology and the charges against them were withdrawn.
Previously, the Freedom Network media watchdog in the tweet had requested the release of the two men.
A reporter based in DI said DawnNewsTV that the two men, Tauqeer and Wajahat Hussain, also worked Dera Times, a local newspaper, as a photography assistant and map maker.
He said the two were arrested after posting news on social media that a group of pilgrims returning from Iran went on a hunger strike to protest the government’s decision not to release them despite spending 17 days in quarantine at DI Khan.
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