Last Thursday, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper published a reckless and unsubstantiated story accusing Wall Street Journal South Asia correspondent Matthew Rosenberg of being a spy. It’s an accusation that gravely endangers Rosenberg’s safety. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson responded with a scathing letter to The Nation’s editor, Shireen Mazari, expressing his disgust at the publication of the story, which he called baseless and false. He demanded an immediate retraction.
It’s of course deeply disturbing to us at CPJ that a newspaper would publish a story like this that clearly puts the life of a fellow reporter in danger. But we are also concerned about the source for this scurrilous information, someone the reporter identified as “an official of law enforcement agency, who requested anonymity.” Could this be a deliberate government attempt to intimidate Rosenberg and other foreign correspondents working in Pakistan? That’s a deeply chilling possibility that must be investigated.
Read Thomson’s letter to Mazari here.