Pakistani Journalist Arrested for Articles Critical of Military

A Pakistani journalist has been arrested in the port city of Karachi, accused of spreading hateful content against the country’s military on social media, according to police authorities and the journalist’s family.Bilal Farooqi, who works for the English-language Express Tribune newspaper, was arrested at his home on September 11.”Through his [social media] posts, Bilal Farooqi defamed the Pakistan Army and anti-state elements used these posts for their vested interests,” a police report seen by Reuters said.The report also alleged that his online activity spread religious hatred and incited mutiny against the military.Farooqi’s family told local media that police seized his mobile phone during a search of their home.Journalists and press freedom advocates have accused the Pakistani military and its agencies of pressuring media outlets to smother critical coverage.His arrest is the latest in a series of such moves against journalists who have been critical of the government or militaryIt also comes days after Prime Minister Imran Khan insisted that Pakistan has a free media.Police cited the country’s cybercrime law that critics say contains vague language that can be used to criminalize basic online activities.The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier this week expressed concern at instances of incitement to violence against journalists and human rights activists.”We have raised our concerns directly with the government and we have urged immediate, concrete steps to ensure the protection of journalists and human rights defenders who have been subjected to threats,” it said in a statement.

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