DesPardes + PKonweb

50 Journalists Booked in ‘Fake Cases’ of Kidnapping, Extortion

A member of the Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaint Commission told the paper it seemed the cases were being registered due to the influence of powerful persons in the areas. “Most of the cases were registered in Sukkur division”

DESPARDES — Over 30 police reports (FIRs) have been registered against 50 journalists in different districts of Sindh province, including Nawabshah, Naushero Feroze, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Sukkur and Thatta, since May 2019.

According to a local media report, these scribes were exposing the white collar crimes of influential people. “If you’re a journalist in rural Sindh, you might end up being charged with kidnapping for ransom or extortion under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA),” wrote The Express Tribune.

One journalist in Thatta was charged for extortion because of a story he wrote about gutka sales. Interestingly, the complainant owns a gutka factory.

Sixteen cases, including ATA cases, have been lodged against one journalist at different police stations in Larkana, Shikarpur, Naushero Feroze and Khairpur since May 23. The FIRs include charges of kidnapping for ransom and extortion.

ALSO READ:
230,000 hepatitis B patients in Sindh…
Study blames HIV outbreak in kids on bad healthcare…

Meanwhile, four cases have been registered against a journalist in Sukkur, since 2017. “I am a journalist, not a kidnapper or a terrorist,” the journalist told The Express Tribune. “False and fabricated cases have been lodged against me and other journalists. But nobody actually listens to us because the people behind these cases are more powerful than the media.”

“Influential people want us to report according to their wishes. They want us not to disclose the truth about them to the world,” said another Sukkur-based journalist. “Cases of attacks, kidnapping for ransom and other heinous crimes are constantly being lodged against those journalists who speak and write the truth.”

He added that four cases had been registered against him too, including two FIRs for attacks and robbery.

All these charges were meant to stop journalists from reporting facts — most of the cases have been registered in Sukkur and Khairpur districts. “Most of these cases are false cases of kidnapping for ransom,” said a Karachi-based journalist.

One journalist in Thatta was charged for extortion because of a story he wrote about gutka sales. Interestingly, the complainant owns a gutka factory. “Such cases were meant to serve as a warning for other journalists, telling them not to highlight these issues.”

A member of the Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaint Commission told the paper that it seemed the cases were being registered due to the influence of powerful persons in the areas. “Most of the cases were registered in Sukkur division,” he revealed.