A Pakistani journalist was arrested on Saturday for uploading "defamatory and obnoxious" posts against the judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies. Rizwan Razi, who hosts a talk shown on Din News, was arrested from his residence in Lahore by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The FIA said the initial investigation had revealed that Razi's social media posts were made through his Twitter account.
He was allegedly uploading "defamatory and obnoxious posts against the armed forces, judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies of the country", it said. "Razi earlier had joined the investigation and in his statement, he confessed to having uploaded obnoxious posts against the judiciary and other departments through his twitter account since 2011," it said, adding that the suspect had apologised.
However, he did not stop this practice, the FIA said. The forensic data extraction report has been obtained and it established Razi uploaded "derogatory/humiliating posts against the judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies through social media", it said.
He has been booked under the sections 11 and 20 of the new cyberlaw PPECA, a cyber-crime law which had been widely criticised by civil rights campaigners as 'draconian' at the time of its passage by the Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N government. The sections 11 pertains to hate speech and can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years, as well as a fine.
Section 20 pertains to "offences against the dignity of a natural person" and carries "imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to Rs 1 million". The journalist bodies, as well as the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), have condemned the arrest of Razi and demanded his immediate release.