New York, May 9, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned that Pakistani authorities might decline to renew visas for the only two Indian journalists working in the country. Authorities on Thursday informed Meena Menon, a correspondent for The Hindu, and Snehesh Alex Philip, a correspondent for the Press Trust of India, that their visas would not be renewed and that they would need to leave the country in one week, The Wall Street Journal reported. CPJ calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to honor pledges he made to CPJ earlier this year to ease visa restrictions for foreign journalists.
“Prime Minister Sharif expressed a strong commitment to improving Pakistan’s press freedom environment in his meetings with CPJ this year, and he should ensure that visas are renewed for both Meena Menon and Snehesh Alex Philip,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz.
It is unclear whether the two journalists’ respective media organizations would be allowed to send replacements, according to the Journal. Pakistan and India have an agreement that each is allowed two journalists in each other’s capital. Last year, the two sole Indian correspondents in Pakistan, Anita Joshua of The Hindu and Rezaul Hasan Laskar of the Press Trust of India, were asked to leave after Pakistan denied extensions to their visas. The two outlets waited more than a year for clearance to send replacements.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The first and second paragraphs have been modified to reflect the correct spelling of Meena Menon’s name.