Media groups, journalists get security after Taliban threat

Islamabad, Oct 15: Pakistani media organisations and some leading television anchors were provided security following threat that they would be targeted by Taliban for their coverage of the attempted assassination of a teenage rights activist, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said today.

"Several alerts were received that some anchors and media houses would be targeted," Malik said while interacting with journalists in Islamabad this morning. Additional police had been deployed at the media organisations and plainclothes personnel had been deputed to guard the anchors, he said.

Malik did not give details of the media organisations or anchors for security reasons. He said guards had also been posted at the homes of anchors facing threats. Security agencies had been directed to follow up leads about possible attacks on the media by the Taliban.

Three Taliban operatives based in the tribal belt - Nadeem Abbas, Maulvi Shafi and Abdul Rasheed –were behind the move to target the media. Abbas was heading the operation, Malik claimed.

Media reports have said the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud had drawn up plans to target media organisations, particularly TV news channels, and some journalists as it was angered by their coverage of Malala Yousufzai.

The News daily quoted its sources as saying that the Taliban felt the media had become biased against the militants and was giving "undue" coverage to the attack on Malala and portraying them as the "worst people on earth".

Malala was flown to Britain this morning amidst tight security for treatment. She has been on a ventilator since doctors removed a bullet lodged near her spine last Wednesday.


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