Suspension of 24News licence earns govt, Pemra widespread condemnation

By: News Desk      Published: 10:46 PM, 3 Jul, 2020
Suspension of 24News licence earns govt, Pemra widespread condemnation

People from various walks of life reacted angrily to suspension of 24NewsHD TV channel’s licence by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday.

Senior journalist and TV anchor Hamid Mir said the media industry was already in crisis and the government should not have taken such a step in this situation. He linked Prime Minister Imran Khan to the ongoing action against the media and said such actions would tarnish Pakistan’s image at the international level. He said the government has strangled the media and 24NewsHD TV should move the court against suspension of its licence.

Hamid Mir said that media workers would take to the street if the judiciary fails to dispense justice in this case. He said the media stood by Imran Khan when he was in opposition, but today he was imposing restrictions on the media. He said the media earned the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s wrath for standing by Imran Khan back in 2002 when he was the only elected member from his party in the National Assembly. He said Imran Khan had said he would break the status quo, but he did not. He said unfortunately journalists trusted the incumbent government of the PTI.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Secretary General Rana Azeem said that suspension of licence was not an attack on 24NewsHD TV alone; it was an attack on the freedom of press and the PFUJ would not tolerate this “illegal action” of the government in any case. He said the PFUJ would launch a strong protest movement if the government does not withdraw its decision vis-à-vis suspension of the news channel’s licence with 48 hours. He said that journalists would stage protests outside Pemra offices and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s personal residence in Banigala. He said the PFUJ stood by 24NewsHD TV in the war the government has initiated against the media.

Office-bearers of the Lahore Press Club announced a protest demonstration against Pemra’s decision to suspend the licence of 24NewsHD TV. They condemned the government’s decision and said they would not accept this unilateral action of the PTI government. Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari and Vice President Qazafi Butt said that Pemra was out to suppress the voice of journalists and financial murder of the media workers was its primary agenda.

Gujranwala Press Club President Hafiz Shahid Munir and Secretary General Tanvir Butt said the journalist community stood by 24NewsHD TV and the government would not succeed in suppressing the truth.

JUI-F President Fazlur Rehman said the government wanted to suppress the truth through Pemra. He said that 24NewsHD TV always exposed the government’s corrupt practices and his party stands by the news channel. He warned the government against victimising the media houses.

Former finance minister Ishaq Dar said in a tweet that the Imran Khan government has carried out another attack on the freedom of press through Pemra. He said that suspension of 24NewsHD TV's licence reflects incumbent governments' fascist mindset. He said the government has resorted to cheap tactics to hide its incompetence and weaknesses. "We condemn this act forcefully," he said.