A "sword of Damocles" in the making?
By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator
Given that it is usually punishable by death, "treason" is a dangerous word to bandy about. When it is applied to journalists, it is even more worrisome. We've seen that in Sri Lanka, which is in the throes of a backlash against a U.N. resolution on past human rights abuses. Photographs of journalists who have been critical of Colombo, their faces barely obscured, have been shown on television; one broadcast even repeatedly used the picture of a journalist's daughter, according to the Network for Rights media support group.
Now, in Pakistan, Zaid Hamid has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, calling on it to try several journalists, a leading human rights activist, the South Asian Free Media Association, and several of its members (many of whom are journalists as well), as well as several government ministries and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, for treason. That is a strange group of bedfellows indeed.