On Thursday, A hashtag calling for the arrest of journalists became the top Twitter trend in Pakistan.
Local media reports that the trend in question was associated with nearly 28,000 accounts. It is worth mentioning here that many of those who use the hashtag #ArrestAntiPakJournalists have published photos of famous journalists who loudly criticize the interim government and Prime Minister Imran Khan in particular.
Said one tweet.”These are the people who are responsible for chaos, anarchy, manipulation. They are the real enemy of the states,”
Criticism of the country’s powerful security institutions has long been viewed as a red line for the media, with journalists and bloggers complaining of intimidation tactics including kidnappings, beatings and even killings if they crossed the line.
Last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report that the armed forces had “quietly, but effectively, set restrictions on reporting,” though it denies doing so.
Shahzad Ahmed, of digital rights group Bytes for All, said the hashtag appeared to have been “planted” by pro-PTI accounts and was not “genuine public opinion”.
“There are organised groups who start such trends, which is a very dangerous phenomenon in our country, regarding freedom of expression and personal freedom,”He said. “Responsible use of social media is now becoming impossible in our country. Now we use social media, only to abuse others and to promote fake news and to disrespect each other, which is completely wrong.”
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17 November, 2019