24News TV channel latest victim of PTI govt’s ire: Shehbaz
Politicians, lawyers warn Pemra against becoming PTI’s party
Politicians, journalists, lawyers and doctors are condemning the PTI government and PEMRA for cancelling the licence of 24NewsHD TV channel and have demanded the withdrawal of the decision, saying it was tantamount to rendering the media professionals jobless.
Leading the storm of reactions, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said 24NewsHD had become the latest victim of the PTI government’s ire, under which media freedom had been gradually eroded.
“Free speech and independence of media are [the] building blocks of democracy,” said Shehbaz in a tweet. The TV channel had been shut down on account of independent editorial policy, he added.
Free speech and independence of media are building blocks of democracy. It is unfortunate that media freedom has gradually been eroded under the PTI govt. The latest to become victim of its ire is ‘24 News’ that has been shut down on account of its independent editorial policy. pic.twitter.com/6UlbiAw7Kp— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 4, 2020
In his comments, PPP leader Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said Prime Minister Imran Khan should leave the office if he wasn’t ready to face criticism and truth. He wondered whether the move was a reaction to airing undesirable news.
He said the prime minister had previously shut the programmes of those TV anchors who he disliked. Imran could not silence the voice of truth through muzzling media, Khokkar noted.
Similarly, Sindh Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu advised PEMRA not to become a PTI party, while Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah said access to facts was a right of the people which required a free and independent media.
He promised that the PPP would always stand for an independent media. The actions being taken against the media houses promoting facts were unacceptable, Shah added.
On the other hand, Young Doctors Association (YDA) leaders Dr Qasim Awan and Dr Ammad Yousuf described the move as illegal.
Meanwhile, Association of Parliamentary Journalists Sindh President Arbab Chandio listed the decision as intolerable while its general secretary, Wakeel Rao, said the move was equivalent to leaving making the workers jobless.
Association of Parliamentary Journalists Sindh’s Executive Committee said those promising millions of job should take notice of rendering the workers jobless.
Also, the Association of Electronic Media and News Directors President Azhar Abbas and others condemned the move and called for reversing the decision.
Pakistan Bar Council Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association and other lawyers' organizations also demanded immediate restoration of the licence of 24News TV channel.
Pakistan lawyers’ fraternity has reacted strongly to the licence suspension termed it an attack on freedom of the press.
“The government wants to suppress the voice of truth and justice,” said Vice Chairman of Pakistan Bar Abid Saqi. He equated suspending a licence with denial of democracy.
Vice-Chairman Pakistan Bar urged PEMRA to restore the TV licence. He said, “Licence should be reinstated immediately.”
President Lahore High Court Bar Tahir Nasrullah Warraich condemning suspension of 24News licence said, “Government does not want to see the truth. Freedom of opinion is a fundamental right.”
The move to suspend the licence of 24News at the behest of the government is reprehensible, said Azam Nazir Tarrar. Former President Lahore High Court Bar Association said that the government wanted to run media according to its wishes. “It is against the law to suspend the licence of 24News,” he added.
Pakistani community in France
The Pakistani community in France has also reacted strongly to the suspension of licence of 24News TV channel and called PEMRA's move tantamount to tightening the noose around journalism in Pakistan.
Pakistan Journalists Forum France Convener Younis Khan, Pakistan Press Club France President Mian Amjad, PTI France Senior Vice President Sheikh Nematullah, Pakistan Muslim League-Q France President Chaudhry Munir Ahmed Warraich, Pakistan People’s Party France Senior Leader Qazi Amir, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front European leaders Malik Latif-ur-Rehman Awan and Dr Pasha and community leaders Malik Mushtaq Pasha were strongly opposed the 24News channel’s licence suspension.