Pakistan: Journalist body expresses concern over TTP threat
Islamabad: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed concern after Tehreeki-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) warned that the Pakistani media and journalists should refrain themselves from calling them a "terrorist outfit" or face dire consequences.
PFUJ president Shahzada Zulfikar and secretary general Nasir Zaidi expressed concern over the safety of journalists, particularly those working in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, reports Dawn News.
“It regretted that not a single case was solved or anyone arrested,” the statement by PFUJ said. “The new threat has again raised alarm in the journalists’ community after a brief calm.”
The statement said, “We have suggested that the media owners should be bound to provide life insurance to all employees, particularly those working in conflict areas.”
The statement said, “Media owners should also provide safety gear to those working in conflict areas as well as provide them special training in dealing with such situations.”
The proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of militant Islamist groups, has warned the Pakistani media and journalists against calling them a "terrorist outfit" or face dire consequences, according to media reports.
In a statement issued by TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani on Monday, the armed group said the media houses and the journalists using epithets such as "terrorists and extremists" for them will be identified as "enemies".
"Using such terms for TTP showed a partisan role of media and journalists," the Dawn newspaper quoted the online statement by the TTP.
Khurasani said his organisation was tracking media coverage which branded the TTP as a "terrorist outfit" or called it an extremist group.
"Such labels on the TTP meant the media professionals were dishonest towards their duty and would create enemies for itself," Mohammad Khurasani said.
He said the media should call the organisation only by its name Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
TTP was formed in 2007 and the government listed it as a banned outfit in August 2008, following targeted attacks on civilians.
In 2009, TTP's first chief, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike by the US.
In 2014, the Pakistan government banned the offshoot organisations of TTP as part of its National Action Plan and stopped the media from its so-called "glorification of militants".
Caught between the militants and the government's war on terror, at least 30 newspersons have been killed in the erstwhile Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the last ten years.