Journalist Ahmad Noorani’s recent report on the accumulation of wealth by Former Army General Asim Saleem Bajwa has been titled “fake news” while Noorani himself also faced backlash with people labeling him a “prostitute Indian agent” and a “traitor of Pakistan.” Writing for FactFocus, an independent investigative news website which he also co-founded, Noorani published the report on 27th August revealing the financial assets of the former general using public records. Following the publishing of the article, ARY news channel devoted a segment that denounced the article as “fake news” while insinuating that the journalist was working for the interests of India and the USA. The journalist Ahmed Noorani has since then received death threats targeting him and his family.
During last few hours, i hav received more than 100 such mesgs informing that i wil b killed along with my children. I know about these accounts. Though FIA & its Cyber Crimes Wing always stood with criminals but upon my return to Pakistan after few days i wil move FIA once again pic.twitter.com/PMuHLRKFmN
— Ahmad Noorani (@Ahmad_Noorani) August 30, 2020
The same broadcast also mentions Gul Bukhari, a journalist living in exile in the UK. Following the broadcast she too received threats of abuse and sexual violence because of which she is going to seek Police protection. CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Steven Butler adds,“Pakistan authorities must investigate who is behind these malicious online attacks on journalists Ahmad Noorani and Gul Bukhari, and ensure that such threats are not tolerated. Journalists cannot do their essential work when they fear for their lives or their families’ safety, and it is the responsibility of Pakistan’s government to create an environment in which reporting in the public interest isn’t a dangerous act.”
Matiullah Jan interviews Ahmad Noorani
Journalists have come together to denounce the defamatory remarks and the threats as a “well-orchestrated campaign against the journalist, declaring him anti-state and agent of the enemy.” In an exclusive interview, Noorani spoke to Matiullah Jan extensively about the report and also went on to express deep regret in targeting the late Asma Jahangir with scathing defamatory pieces in the past.