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Monday May 25 2020

Calls for MSR's 'immediate release' grow louder as Spanish journalist condemns detention

BRUSSELS: Spanish writer and journalist Anna Ballesteros has condemned the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, editor-in-chief of Jang and Geo, and demanded his release.

Ballesteros said that "it seems that free flow of information and free dissent is a crime in Pakistan".

The Spanish journalist demanded that this "stop". "Release him," she said.

In addition, Abbas Nasir, a former editor of Dawn based in Spain, in response to the arrest of Jang and Geo's editor-in-chief, said that as a Pakistani journalist, he also wanted to add his voice to the many protesting voices against the detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman .

He added that in his knowledge, MSR was being "punished for his group's editorial policy".

He said that his detention is tantamount to "state violence and terrorism".

Nasir appealed to the government that justice be done with MSR's case and that he be released.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman's arrest has been termed as the 8th most urgent case in the threat to press freedom, according to a list compiled by the "One Free Press Coalition", a body comprising nearly 40 news organisations including acclaimed American news website, TIME.

“In light of the threat posed by coronavirus, their freedom is now a matter of life or death,” said the coalition in a statement.

"To silence criticism of pandemic preparedness, government targets broadcast outlet and its CEO," read the article on MSR's detention. It mentioned how Geo News's transmission was stopped throughout the country a day after his arrest.

MSR was arrested on March 12 by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over trumped-up charges relating to property bought from a private entity more than three decades ago.