Sunday, May 28, 2006

About Courage and Finally Getting Even

From time to time one comes across people who deserve to be praised. Today it is the turn of the journalist Amir Mir.

Mir has faced intimidation and harassment over the years for his lively reporting. In November 2003 things probably hit rock bottom for him shortly after he wrote an article on Dawood Ibrahim in the Herald.

This led to the head Chowkidar swinging in boots and all in his ineffable Gucci-commando style.

As the international watchdog
Human Rights Watch noted:

On November 20 [2003] at a reception for Pakistani newspaper editors [Musharraf] reportedly condemned the Herald for being “anti-army” and working against the “national interest”.

[Musharraf] referred to several stories published in the magazine under Amir Mir’s byline to illustrate [his] point. Some of the journalists present suggested that the government’s complaints be channelled through the proper forum (in this case the Council of Pakistani Newspaper Editors (CPNE)).

[But Musharraf] dismissed the suggestion, arguing that the time had come for the Herald and Mir to be “dealt with”.

And so as the
BBC reported:
"Two days later, unidentified persons set Amir Mir's car ablaze outside his house," [Then he] received a message warning that this was just the beginning.
So much for Musharraf’s much vaunted nonsense about press freedoms.

Anyhow after waiting patiently for two and half years Amir Mir who has been declared All Pakistan Newspaper Society’s prestigious ‘Best reporter of the Year’ has finally had a chance to avenge himself against his jackbooted bully.


Journalist Amir Mir declines award from Musharraf
PTI, Sunday, May 28, 2006 18:34 IST

ISLAMABAD: A prominent Pakistani journalist has refused to accept an award from President Pervez Musharraf, saying he cannot receive it from a military dictator who has "trampled the constitution"

Amir Mir, who has written extensively on militant activities in Pakistan and is working for several Indian and foreign newspapers, was declared best reporter for the year 2005 for his investigative report in Herald magazine by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, an organization representing major Pakistani newspaper owners. APNS gives awards every year to journalist for best reporting, feature writing and photographs.

Mir was supposed to receive the award at a function here on Friday from President Musharraf. "In principle, I am unable to receive the award at the hands of a military dictator, who has on several occasions violated the constitution and has no respect for the country's highest laws," Mir wrote to APNS President Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.

He sent copies of his letter to his journalist friends in and outside Pakistan. "Journalism is a sacred profession, whose foundation lays on freedom of expression. "But on contrary, the APNS has invited a military dictator as chief guest for distribution of awards, who has no respect for the basic principle of press freedom. Being a military dictator he neither believes in freedom of expression nor tolerates difference of opinion," Mir said in his letter.

"It will be a stain on my APNS award to receive it from a military dictator in an APNS function," he wrote.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to him for taking a prinicipled stand!

Onlooker said...

You may be surprised to learn (or then again maybe not) that news of Amir Mir's boycott of the APNS award ceremony was blacked out in the local press.

Mum's the word among our press barons!

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