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DigiMAP Condemns Arrests Of Digital Media Journalists Amir Mir And Imran Shafqat In A Legally Dubious Manner

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LAHORE: DigiMAP strongly condemns the arrest of journalists Amir Mir and Syed Imran Shafqat. This is yet another voice to curb journalistic freedoms in the country and stifle any and all forms of dissent, the president of the Digital Media Alliance of Pakistan Sabookh Syed said.

Amir Mir, brother of senior journalist Hamid Mir, runs a Youtube channel Googly TV while Syed Imran Shafqat runs his own Youtube channel ‘Tellings with Imran Shafqat’.

The two journalists were abducted on Saturday morning. Hamid Mir tweeted that his brother had been ‘abducted’ by the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency. He added that Amir Mir was ‘abducted’ while on his way to the office from home.

Imran Shafqat was also ‘abducted’ by the FIA according to senior journalist and editor of Humsub.com.pk Wajahat Masood.

DigiMAP believes this is an attempt to silence the journalists critical of government policies and urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the blatant abuse of power by the federal institution.

In its press release, the FIA has stated that the two journalists were arrested for ‘airing programs that undermined the trust of the people of Pakistan in its security institutions and the superior courts’. The agency also says that Mir and Shafqat were booked for ‘being disrespectful towards women’.

DigiMAP believes that breaking into journalists’ homes to ‘arrest’ them or tracing their cars for the purpose could not be justified under any circumstances. “If the journalists have violated some law, this should definitely be investigated. But the manner in which they were taken away by the FIA officials was by no means professional or legal. This practice of harassing journalists and their families must end now”, Sabookh said talking to Naya Daur Media.

According to the FIA press release, Syed Imran Shafqat and Amir Mir have now been released on bail but the investigation is still going on and a challan will be presented before the court after collecting more evidence.

Human rights lawyer Aftab Alam said that ‘there should be difference of treatment when it comes to terrorism and journalism. Terrorism is a threat to humanity but journalism is not a crime’.

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