Resolution lands in PA against 24NewsHD blackout

By: News Desk      Published: 11:45 AM, 3 Mar, 2020
Resolution lands in PA against 24NewsHD blackout

A resolution has been submitted in the Punjab Assembly regarding the government’s blackout of the 24NewsHD.TV.

The resolution was forwarded by PML-N’s provincial lawmaker advocate Kanwal Liaqat.

The content of the resolution is “The members of the Punjab Assembly opine that the freedom of the press transforms society in the right direction. This government that came on the slogans of change had claimed to maintain the freedom of the media, but only the reverse has been true so far.”

The summary also read “Not only the government has stifled the freedom of the press, but its suppression has also led to the social murder of the journalists. In addition, the ban on social media reflects the mental degradation of this government.”

About the blackout of the 24News Channel, the resolution said “24News has been punished for raising the voice of the truth and for reminding the government’s promises to the rulers they made to the people before coming to the power. 24News has only been punished as it had the temerity to reflect the miserable condition of the common man.”

The resolution added “This legislature strongly condemns the government’s closure of the 24News, while demanding the federal government to mend its own ways instead of silencing the voice of the truth.”

“Punjab Assembly pays tribute to 24News channel on becoming the voice of the truth, and demands the government to provide social, economic and moral protection.”

On Saturday last, the 24NewsHD was taken off the air in a number of cities on the orders of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

 Public forwarded their complaints from various parts of the country about the blackout of their favourite news channel, 24NewsHD.

The cable operators said that they were under immense pressure to cut off the channel. Journalists organisations have strongly condemned the move against the TV channel.

As public’s complaints piled up, Pemra Chairman Saleem Baig and other officials of the Authority had said they were unaware of the development. “I don’t know why the 24NewsHD was taken off the air,” said the Pemra Chairman.

When asked the reason, the Chairman said “I don’t know why the TV channel’s transmission was blacked out. Let me find out the reason before sharing it with you.”

On the 24NewsHD blackout issue, not only the journalist community had come out in the support of the TV channel but political leaders and the civil society also voiced concern against the bizarre move that even the Pemra Chairman, the chief of the authority responsible for such moves, denied involvement.

Senior journalist Anwar Raza had said that all those who put restrictions on the media in the past faced consequences, adding that 24NewsHD always reported nothing but the truth.

The PFUJ Secretary-General said: “We’ll fight the crusade for the freedom of the press,” adding that they will not tolerate any extra-constitutional act like this. Arshad Ansari demanded the immediate restoration of the channel’s transmission, “otherwise we will protest.”

While condemning the Pemra’s move, JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman had said that 24NewsHD always reported unbiased news, adding “every single JUI-F activist stands with the TV channel.”

Maulana Fazl said that the incumbent government has been banning media from day one, adding “I strongly condemn this.”

Apart from all the criticism and condemnation that followed from across the country, the action was detested as vehemently by the journalist fraternity as it was disapproved by the civil society.

Experts were of the view that the action against 24NewsHD suggests that the authorities do not care much about the freedom of media. They say in the current environment it has become a fashion to stifle the media that dares to point out the shortcomings in the administration.

Senior journalists and their organisations while condemning the action against the TV channel say Pemra has lost its value by becoming a tool in the hands of the government.