Friday, June 23, 2006

Gagged and bound - if you're lucky

The government has ballyhooed its commitment to a free press even as its tried to keep the skeletons in its closet firmly out of view. Topping the list of issues that are off-limits for reporters is coverage of the Americans' presence on Pakistani soil. Now, 3 months after they first disappeared, a reporter for Geo TV, Mukesh Ropeta, and a cameraman, Sanjay Kumar, have been charged with revealing state secrets for filming an air base in Jacobabad that was used by Americans to support the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

The charges come in the same week that another reporter, Hayatullah Khan, abducted in Dec. 2005, was found dead with a bullet in his back. Mr. Khan disappeared soon after he photographed fragments of an American Hellfire missile that had killed an Al-Qaeda operative inside Pakistan. The Pakistani government had earlier claimed that the Al-Qaeda man had died from a blast caused by a bomb-making accident.

The Supreme Court has taken suo moto notice of Mr. Khan's death, but surely it must do so in the case of the Geo reporter and cameraman, too. As they are alive and capable of testifying, they can shed light on their 3 month long disappearance; were they indeed abducted and tortured by one of Pakistan's intelligence agencies as alleged?

As the Supreme Court celebrates its golden jubilee the court could regain some credibility amongst the public if it took on the ubiquitous intelligence agencies and stood up for the rule of law.


Anonymous said...

on the subject of Geo TV, how come it's broadcasting Voice of America? thats prime time advertising revenue theyre losing, so they must be getting paid a shitload by VoA. do you have any detais?

Matt said...

I found a video that would suit your entry perfectly... It's a demonstration of what a Hellfire Missile does to an enemy tank. It's quite amazing and the quality is very clear.

I don't want one of these fired at me...