From The News:
Pakistan has expelled a reporter for the New York Times Magazine who interviewed Taliban leaders and visited the areas of Balochistan province bordering Afghanistan, a media watchdog said. The journalist, Nicholas Schmidle, whose report “Next-Gen Taliban” appeared in the magazine on the weekend, was deported on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
“The article contained interviews with anti-government Taliban leaders and was written from the tumultuous Balochistan province, and its capital, Quetta,” the New York-based watchdog said.
The Committee quoted Scott Malcomson, Schmidle’s editor at the magazine, as saying that no explanation was given for the journalist’s deportation. However, he said, the deportation was “clearly connected to his writing rather than anything else he was doing”.
An information ministry official said Schmidle did not have a journalist visa. “He was on a two-year fellowship here and had visited sensitive areas in Balochistan without permission and did reporting. He was not on a journalist visa,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The CPJ expressed concern over growing attacks by the government of President Pervez Musharraf on media. “CPJ is unfortunately accustomed to reporting on the government’s attacks on the local media, but now harassment seems to be spreading to foreign journalists as well,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director.
“At a time of growing crisis in Pakistan, perhaps the worst tactic for promoting calm is for the government to silence the press.”
The government rejects criticism on media curbs. “The media in Pakistan is the freest ever in the history of the country. There is no restriction whatsoever on media in Pakistan,” an information ministry spokesman said this week.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the government of Pakistan has contradicted the report that an American journalist has been expelled. The spokesman has clarified that such reports are not true, because no such order has been issued for a person travelling on a journalist-visa.