Hounding journalists.

WHEN it comes to press freedom, the arrest of journalist Shahid Aslam highlights the weaknesses in our democracy and the state's failure to do the right thing. Mr Aslam was arrested by the FIA after the publication of an online story about retired army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa's taxes and wealth statements last November. According to the article, Gen Bajwa's family amassed billions of rupees in the last six years. It is alleged that Mr Aslam, who has been sent to jail on judicial remand, contributed to the story by leaking data, but the journalist who wrote the story later said Mr Aslam had no connection to it. Mr Aslam's lawyer, too, has told the court that the journalist committed no illegality. Yet he is being hounded.

Mr Aslam's arrest is part of an age-old pattern: the state cracks down on negative coverage of powerful quarters by arresting media personnel it holds responsible. All too often, journalists have been dragged to court, threatened and intimidated for publishing stories that have raised questions about military officers. This...

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