Two journalists briefly detained for defaming the army and the judiciary
LAHORE: The cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) briefly detained two journalists on Saturday for uploading content to their YouTube channels allegedly “against the military, justice and women.”
The two journalists, who were collected from their home here, were released after being detained for a few hours.
“The FIA cybercrime wing station officer gave them a bond on personal insurance (from a seasoned journalist), which is very rare in such cases. Usually, the FIA presents a suspect in court within 24 hours of arrest. for his detention, “an official told Dawn.
FIA Cybercrime Wing spokesperson Lahore said: “Suspects Amir Mir and Imran Shafqat were arrested under Articles 11 (hate speech), 13 (electronic forgery), 20 ( the dignity of a natural person) and 24 (cyberbullying) of the Prevention of the Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and 505 (incitement against the armed forces), 500 (defamation), 509 (indecent exposure of women) and 469 ( infringement with intent to damage reputation) of the Pakistani Penal Code.The two suspects are accused of humiliating the Pakistani army, superior court judges and women.
In a statement, the agency further said that the suspects’ YouTube channels – Googly (Mir) and Tellings (Shafqat) – had broadcast programs that allegedly attempted to weaken the foundations of national security institutions and the justice system, and also slandered them. “On top of that, they also humiliated women.”
The FIA said the suspects had been released on bail, while an investigation was underway. “Further evidence will be collected against the suspects and presented in court,” he said.
After their arrest, a group of senior journalists led by Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari went to the FIA office to protest and spoke to the cybercrime official.
Speaking to Dawn, Mr Ansari said the two reporters were released on “personal insurance” from senior reporter Sohail Warraich.
Amir Mir is the brother of journalist Hamid Mir, who was recently taken off the airwaves of Geo News for allegedly speaking out against the military. The TV presenter then apologized for the speech he gave during a protest against attacks on journalists and said he did not intend to defame the institution.
Meanwhile, the Federal Union of Journalists of Pakistan (PFUJ) condemned the incident.
PFUJ Chairman Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi in a joint statement urged the federal government to take concrete steps to protect journalists.
“Such unlawful and unjustified arrests show the government’s lack of respect for press freedom, freedom of expression and expression in the country and such draconian measures go against the civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution Pakistan of 1973, ”they said.