Protests gather pace against 24NewsHD TV licence suspension
Press clubs in all major cities from Karachi to Lahore have joined countrywide solidarity demonstrations with 24NewsHD TV channel and urged the government to reinstate 24NewsHD TV licence immediately.
The participants chanted slogans for the press freedom in the country and termed the Pemra’s move as an attack on media freedom. Protests were arranged in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Sialkot, Faisalabad, DI Khan, Sukhar, Kandhkot, Badin, Larkana, Khanewal, Takhatbhai, Bahawalpur, Muridke, Layyah, Lodhra and many other cities of the country on Friday. The protests gathered pace on Saturday.
A demonstration was arranged outside the Karachi Press Club in which Karachi Press Club President Imtiaz Faran, former President AK Khanzada and political figures participated including MQM-P Rabita Committee.
MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar addressing a protest demo outside the Karachi Press Club on Saturday strongly condemned the closure of the 24NewsHD TV channel
He termed the channel closure as an act of ‘dictatorship and royalty’.
Farooq Sattar, who himself is a poet too, also recited Urdu poetry couplet, ‘Kuch dair ki kahmooshi hay phr shor aye ga…Tmhara siraf waqt aya hay humara door aye ga.”
He concluded the speech with Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistani Media Paindabad and 24News Paindabad.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) Secretary General Nasir Zaidi addressing a demonstration outside the National Press Club, Islamabad said: “The government is bewildered and this move to silence media will not be allowed to end freedom of the press.”
He said PFUJ will never leave its workers alone. Countrywide protests are going on against the closure of 24NewsHD TV Channel.
PFUJ President Afzal Sher Butt said journalists have to play their historic role to save this media industry and PFUJ will not give up the freedom at the mercy of the rulers.
They said the journalists would march towards Parliament and the Prime Minister House if the Pemra did not restore the licence of the TV channel.
They said they would go any limit to save the jobs of hundreds of media workers and would also go to the courts if the govt put a deaf air to their demands.
Meanwhile, a solidarity protest with the Channel 24 News has also been organized outside the Lahore Press Club (LPC) in which large numbers of journalists expressed their solidarity with the 24NewsHD and with the freedom of the press. A large number of journalists and representatives of different media bodies including Lahore Pres Club, EMRA, PFUJ, PUJ, ENKA and EMPRA joined the protest and demanded of the government to restore the 24NewsHD TV immediately.
A large number of political leaders including parliamentarians also joined the protest outside Lahore Press Club to show solidarity with 24News and journalists.
Chief Group Editor City News Network Salim Bokhari, Director News City 42 Khurram Kaleem, Director News 24 Mian Tahir, Group Editor Daily City 42 Naveed Chaudhary, President LPC Arshad Ansari, Secretary LPC Babar Dogar, President EMRA Asif Butt, PUJ President Shazad Hussain, Secretary PFUJ Rana M Azeem, PML-N vice-president Punjab Rana Mashhood, General Secretary APCA M Ziaullah Ch, and Punjab Assembly Members including Kh Salman Rafiq, Rabia Farooqi, Liaqat Malik, Kanwal Liaqat Adv, Mirza Javed and Rukhsana Kousar and other political figures gathered outside the LPC to stage the protest against the high-handedness of the government against media.
The journalists community in Kahror Pakka also staged a protest against the PTI government for suspending licence of 24NewsHD TV channel.
The journalists said the PTI was a strong supporter of freedom of press before coming into power but after forming a government the ruling party is targeting journalists.
They said the PTI government come into its senses and restore the licence of the 24News TV channel.
Journalists in Larkana also protested the government’s action against 24News TV channel. People from different walks of life took part in a rally led by the Press Club President.
Journalists in Layyah also staged in protest in Kot Sultan and demanded restoration of the 24News channel’s licence. Saraikistan Qaumi Ittehad District President Allah Nawaz Sargani.
Members of civil society joined journalists in Lodhran to protest the government’s high-handedness against the media. They staged a large protest in front of the Press Club and raised slogans against the government. “24News TV channel was punished for speaking the truth,” they added.