US snubs Pakistan, expresses concern over press freedom in Pakistan

Almeida has been barred from leaving Pakistan

The US on Tuesday expressed concern over the difficulties and dangers faced by journalists in Pakistan amid restrictions imposed on Pakistani scribe Cyril Almeida for reporting a rift between the civilian and military leaderships.

“Press freedom is obviously an issue that we continue to raise regularly with the government of Pakistan, including our concerns about the difficulties and the dangers that journalists face there,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

“We are concerned about any efforts to limit press freedom or the ability of journalists to conduct their very, very important work,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists urged Pakistan to “immediately lift the travel ban” on Almeida.

CPJ Asia Programme Coordinator Steven Butler said Pakistan can be a dangerous place for journalists, but also added that the nation has a proud tradition of a fiercely independent press,” said.

“Unhappiness with a press report should never be used as an excuse to restrict the freedom of a journalist,” he added.

Almeida, a prominent Pakistani journalist, has been barred from leaving the country after he reported a rift between the civilian and military leaderships over the powerful ISI shielding terror groups like the Haqqani network and LeT that led to Pakistan’s international isolation.