Khursheed Shah condemns 24NewsHD TV channel’s suspension
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Jailed PPP leader Khursheed Shah on Tuesday condemned the move to take 24NewsHD TV off air and called for respecting media freedom in the country.
Talking to media persons outside an accountability court after the hearing of assets beyond means reference filed against him, the seasoned politician also criticised the government for keeping Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman – the owner and editor-in-chief of Geo/Jang Group.
Khursheed made these remarks as people are deprived of the right to watch their TV channel 24NewsHD for the 65th consecutive day.
In the connection, protests are being staged in different towns and cities to restore its transmission.
But it is not just the media workers and their representative bodies who are in protest against the government, as civil society organisations and different bar associations have also calling for respecting the media freedom and restoring 24NewsHD.
Talking about the issue, the members of High Court Bar Association Hyderabad say the TV channel’s licence should be restored immediately. Silencing the voice of 24NewsHD is a violation of the Constitution and law, they noted.
Earlier, the PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) had suspended the TV channel’s licence in August but later removed it from the satellite too.
Last month, PPP leader Raza Rabbani said the incumbent PTI government and PEMRA were the enemies of media freedom. “Journalists are being kidnapped and imprisoned today,” he noted, adding that media persons were being rendered jobless.
Rabbani, who was addressing the participants of a protest outside National Press Club in Islamabad, said the government wasn’t ready to listen to the truth and had not learned any lesson from history.
Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of JUI-F described the PTI government as repressive, but noted that such tactics had failed in past and would fail in the future too. People enjoy compete freedom of expression in democracy, he added.
Hamid Mir, a senior journalist and TV anchor, said efforts were underway to make 24NewsHD, which has been shut down on satellite too two days back – a symbol of defeat. “The PEMRA is a hostage to the government,” he remarked.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists General Secretary Nasir Zaidi, Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists President Amir Sajjad Syed and others also attended the protest.
In his address, Zaidi said the suspension of 24NewsHD was a direct attack on media freedom.