Today, world editors have written to the government condemning the way a journalist, Matthew Rosenberg, has been maligned without evidence thereby making him vulnerable to being attacked extremists. True, the western media rarely reports without a slant. But unsubstantiated propaganda is plainly wrong and makes us all ashamed. We must practice what we preach. We hope that foreign correspondents are provided protection and better editorial discretion is introduced. As a writer I support freedom of expression but irresponsible allegations can be dangerous in these insecure times.
TO: Qamar Zaman Kaira,AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan
4th Floor, Cabinet Block, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad (16 November 2009)
RE: Nation article about Wall Street Journal reporter
Respected Minister Kaira,
We are writing to register our strong concern at a recent development that has caused alarm among international media organizations working in Pakistan.
On November 5, The Nation newspaper published a front page article accusing Matthew Rosenberg, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, of working for the C.I.A., Israeli intelligence and the U.S. military contractor Blackwater.
Mr. Rosenberg is a respected journalist of high standing. Not only was the article unsubstantiated, it critically compromised his security and raised questions about whether he can return to Pakistan to work safely in the future.
The article also has broader implications. These are difficult times for all journalists in
Pakistan. Our employees already face an array of threats, including violence and kidnapping,
as they strive to provide timely and accurate coverage. Now those risks have been needlessly
We strongly support press freedoms across the world. But this irresponsible article
endangered the life of one journalist and could imperil others. It is particularly upsetting that
this threat has come from among our own colleagues.
We recognize that courageous Pakistani journalists routinely face greater dangers than their
international counterparts. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, five Pakistani
journalists have been killed in the past 12 months alone. And we are heartened that several
Pakistani media organizations have denounced The Nation’s story.
But we are also concerned that an incident of this kind – tarring a foreign reporter as a spy –
could occur again. We ask the government of Pakistan to take note of this story and to take
all necessary steps to ensure the safety of all media personnel in future.
Global News Director