The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has issued a stern warning to national media and journalists, telling them not to refer to them as a “terrorist outfit” or face being regarded as enemies.
TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani allegedly stated in a statement posted on social media on Monday that they were watching media coverage that branded the TTP with derogatory terms like “terrorists and extremists.”
“Using such terms for TTP showed a partisan role of media and journalists,” it said, adding this is a stigma on the profession of journalism.
Since it began to target people in a series of attacks and was banned by the government, Pakistani media began to refer to the TTP as a terrorist organization. The TTP, a collection of militant groups, was founded in 2007 and designated a banned organization by the federal government in August 2008. Baitullah Mehsud, the TTP’s first leader, was assassinated in a US drone strike in 2009.
Through the much-publicized National Action Plan in 2014, the government also banned additional TTP offshoots and banned media from glorifying terrorists.
According to Khurasani, the media used such derogatory terms for the TTP at the request of one party, which had chosen it for their opponents. As a result, the media should refer to them as Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Otherwise, the media will engage in professional dishonesty and make enemies for itself, according to the statement.
Several Pakistani journalists have been killed, injured, or abducted in the country’s fight against terrorism, especially in the former Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
In Fata and KP alone, over 30 journalists were murdered in militancy and targeted killings. Family members of journalists have been murdered or intimidated to leave their homes in certain cases. It’s unclear if they were murdered by militants, or whether some of them were since nearly all of the culprits were never brought to court.