NEW YORK, JULY 15. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is dismayed that local authorities in Abbottabad have not dropped blasphemy charges brought against journalists from the Urdu- language daily Mohasib, even though officials at both the pro
``This case shows how dangerous the blasphemy laws can be for any Pakistani journalist who tackles the difficult topic of religion,'' said the CPJ executive director, Ms Ann Cooper. ``These four journalists have been jailed for more than a month and face charges that could result in the death penalty.'' According to local journalists, the Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Northwest Frontier Province Law Department have each issued statements arguing that the Mohasib article contained nothing that could be considered blasphemous. In early July, the Inspector General of Police in Northwest Frontier Province sent a notice urging local authorities to drop the case registered against Mohasib and to release the jailed editors.
However, district officials have refused to drop the case, citing pressure from religious groups.
CPJ is a New York-based, non- partisan, non-profit organisation of journalists that works to defend press freedom around the world.