BREAKING: 21 International Media Organizations Write to Government About The Nation

Nov 17th, 2009 | By | Category: The Nation

BREAKING: A group of 21 international media organizations has written a letter to Minister of Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira expressing concern about The Nation.

The letter is in response to an article by Kaswar Klasra in The Nation earlier this month that – with no evidence or factual support – accused a fellow journalist of being a spy. This group letter to the Minister comes following public condemnation from Committee to Protect Journalists and an appeal from the editor of The Wall Street Journal.

The letter is signed by Editors from ABC News, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, The Guardian, BBC, The Independent, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Economist, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, France Info, McClatchy Newspapers, National Public Radio, Reuters, The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, The Times, Radio France Internationale, and The Wall Street Journal.

The letter reads as follows:

TO: Qamar Zaman Kaira,
Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan
4th Floor, Cabinet Block, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad

RE: Nation article about Wall Street Journal reporter

16 November 2009

Respected Minister Kaira,

We are writing to register our strong concern at a recent development that has caused alarm among international media organizations working in Pakistan.

On November 5, The Nation newspaper published a front page article accusing Matthew Rosenberg, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, of working for the C.I.A., Israeli intelligence and the U.S. military contractor Blackwater.

Mr. Rosenberg is a respected journalist of high standing. Not only was the article unsubstantiated, it critically compromised his security and raised questions about whether he can return to Pakistan to work safely in the future.

The article also has broader implications. These are difficult times for all journalists in Pakistan. Our employees already face an array of threats, including violence and kidnapping, as they strive to provide timely and accurate coverage. Now those risks have been needlessly increased.

We strongly support press freedoms across the world. But this irresponsible article endangered the life of one journalist and could imperil others. It is particularly upsetting that this threat has come from among our own colleagues.

We recognize that courageous Pakistani journalists routinely face greater dangers than their international counterparts. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, five Pakistani journalists have been killed in the past 12 months alone. And we are heartened that several Pakistani media organizations have denounced The Nation’s story.

But we are also concerned that an incident of this kind – tarring a foreign reporter as a spy – could occur again. We ask the government of Pakistan to take note of this story and to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of all media personnel in future.

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