Pakistani authorities arrest journalist for allegedly spreading false news about state institutions

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani security agents have arrested a senior Islamabad-based TV anchor known for his criticism of the authorities on charges of spreading false content about state institutions on social media, his news channel and family said Friday.

Khalid Jamil was taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency late on Thursday, his ABN television posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Jamil’s family confirmed the arrest, saying he was detained in a late-night raid at his home in the capital, Islamabad. A photograph of Jamil circulating on social media shows him holding up a sign with his case number, apparently in police custody.

Later Friday, an Islamabad court gave the green light for the agency to hold Jamil for questioning for two days.

The arrest has drawn condemnation from the country’s journalists community. Pakistan has long been an unsafe country for reporters. In 2020, it ranked ninth on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual Global Impunity Index, which assesses countries where journalists are regularly harassed and killed and the assailants usually go free.

In recent years, activists and journalists have increasingly come under attack by the government and the security establishment, restricting the space for criticism and dissent. The criticism of the military can result in threats, intimidation, sedition charges and in some cases, being arrested with no warning.

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