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Smear Campaign Against Journalists On Twitter Raises Serious Concerns

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Social Media users on Friday raised concerns over a smear campaign against several Pakistani journalists, including Saleem Safi, Marvi Sirmed, Arshad Waheed Chaudhry, Hamid Mir, and activist Ahmed Waqas Goraya.

The top 4 Twitter trends in Pakistan are against the aforementioned names. Several users are tweeting derogatory remarks against the journalists/activists and are calling them ‘paid’.

Journalist Asma Shirazi condemned the smear campaign against Marvi Sirmed saying that abusing journalists was extremely inappropriate.

“Organised malicious campaign against Marvi Sirmed is highly condemnable, those who think that they can discourage Marvi or women journalists by using bad language and abuses are extremely wrong. Stay strong,” she said.

Columnist Durdana Najam said Pakistan’s society is becoming increasingly ‘sadist’ and ‘conspiratorial’. “Our society is increasingly becoming sadist and conspiratorial. If you don’t like anyone, nail that person down with character assassination. I have seen women colluding with men to commit this shameful act.”

A campaign against Saleem Safi is also in full swing. He’s being called a ‘paid journalist’ by his critics, but his admirers believe otherwise.

Twitter user Muazam Siab called Saleem Safi ‘one of the real source of free media’. He said he totally condemned the trend against Safi as he is conveying the true sense of information and ‘not the edited one’.

Journalist Arshad Waheed Chaudhry was subjected to abuse on Twitter too after someone accused him of asking a ‘planted’ question to Bilawal Bhutto. Arshad later responded via a tweet that such campaigns showed ‘how bothered they were’.


Author and journalist Azaz Syed came in Arshad’s defence saying that he asked a valid question and the trends were exposing ‘real faces behind the campaign’. “Arshad asked a valid and wonderful question. Tell me you are scared of questions or answers? To me, you are scared of both”.

Politician and activist Bushra Gohar also condemned the abusive remarks and termed the trends as means to ‘gag’ free press. “The ongoing abusive trends and malicious attacks on journalists in Pakistan are despicable.  Such cowardly attempts to gag free press won’t succeed.  Strongly condemn the attacks and stand with the courageous journalists.”

Columnist Ammar Masood said campaigns against journalists would not stop them from telling the truth. “Abusive Twitter trends against Pakistani journalists will not stop them from speaking the truth. It will only expose the people who want to hide the truth.”

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