UPDATE: Committee to Project Journalists Condemns The Nation

Nov 9th, 2009 | By | Category: The Nation

What are people saying about The Nation?

UPDATE: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned The Nation for publishing “a reckless and unsubstantiated story”. Last week, Pakistan Media Watch wrote about the incident – in which The Nation published an article with no facts calling an American journalist a spy. Here is what the CPJ wrote today:

Last Thursday, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper published a reckless and unsubstantiated story accusing Wall Street Journal South Asia correspondent Matthew Rosenberg of being a spy. It’s an accusation that gravely endangers Rosenberg’s safety. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson responded with a scathing letter to The Nation’s editor, Shireen Mazari, expressing his disgust at the publication of the story, which he called baseless and false. He demanded an immediate retraction.

It’s of course deeply disturbing to us at CPJ that a newspaper would publish a story like this that clearly puts the life of a fellow reporter in danger. But we are also concerned about the source for this scurrilous information, someone the reporter identified as “an official of law enforcement agency, who requested anonymity.” Could this be a deliberate government attempt to intimidate Rosenberg and other foreign correspondents working in Pakistan? That’s a deeply chilling possibility that must be investigated.

In addition, the Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Robert Thomson, wrote a scathing letter to Shireen Mazari conveying his “disgust” over “the slanderous and dangerous falsehoods published on the front page” of The Nation.

Dear Ms. Mazari,

As a fellow Editor, I am writing to convey in the strongest possible terms our dismay and disgust over the slanderous and dangerous falsehoods published on the front page of your newspaper on November 5 regarding our reporter, Mathhew Rosenberg.

Journalism is an important vocation and Pakistan has many fine and courageous journalists who operate in extremely difficult conditions. Foreign correspondents also have an important social role and are similarly exposed to danger from extremists. So for your paper to have suggested, absolutely groundlessly, that Matthew had some intelligence connection was a betrayal of our collective calling and has endangered him, all other Wall Street Journal correspondents, and all journalists and foreign correspondents in your country.

Let me set the record straight: Matthew is an experienced foreign correspondent who has worked for many years covering the region, including Pakistan. In that capacity, he has pursued no other agenda than seeking the truth and has had no other aim than to bring to the world’s attention news and analysis of what is happening in your very important country at a critical time.

Our profession has been done a great disservice by the utterly baseless article, and I call upon you to print an immediate and prominent retraction to ensure that it is widely understood that the piece was without foundation. At present, your paper is is guilty of spreading falsehoods, but it could ultimately be complicit in a far greater tragedy unless this wrong is corrected. We obviously reserve our right to pursue legal action in this instance.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Thompson

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