Resolution in PA demands revival of 24News TV channel’s licence

As condemnation grows, Marriyum Aurangzeb says action against TV channel tantamount to fascism

By: News Desk      Published: 11:13 AM, 4 Jul, 2020
Resolution in PA demands revival of 24News TV channel’s licence

A resolution has been submitted in Punjab Assembly which described government’s decision to suspend the licence of 24NewsHD TV channel as a repressive act and a sheer negation of justice, calling on the authorities to immediately restore the licence of the channel.

The resolution which calls for total condemnation of the government’s one-sided action was moved by PML-N MPA Kanwal Liaquat Advocate on Saturday.

Condemnation grows

Meanwhile, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb while strongly condemning the suspension of 24NewsHD TV channel’s licence, called for its immediate restoration. It tantamount to fascism and repression to take the channel off the air without listening to its stance, she said and added, the Imran Khan government is now hurting the very shoulders which brought them into the power.

Marriyum said after destroying the media industry the government’s step is causing unemployment amid deteriorating coronavirus situation. The government is targeting those channels, media houses, journalists and owners who are siding with the truth, she said and added “The enforcement of the law is not just. A visible discriminator attitude reflects the government’s bias. The government has a problem with all those institutions, people and personalities who criticize it.”

The PML-N spokesperson said the government feeling helpless over its criticism finds an easy way to respond which is to shut the channel and the institution. “Fascist thinking and highhandedness are everywhere in the New Pakistan. The government is adding to the unemployment tsunami by shutting the 24NewsHD TV channel. Taking the channel off the air, unjust detention of Jang Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakeelur Rahman, ban on anchors’ programmes and write-ups prove that this government has nothing to do with democracy,” she added.

Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said 24NewsHD had always exposed government’s incompetence. The government cannot silence the voice of truth, he said, adding that they were standing by the TV channel’s workers.

Similarly, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said the government was working on a fascist agenda.

Rana Sanaullah, who is party’s Punjab chapter president, said the government did not have the courage to listen to the truth and that’s why an attempt was being made to muzzle media.

Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said the government attempts to press media won’t succeed while PML-N’s Khawaja Imran Nazir vowed that his party was standing by 24NewsHD.

On Friday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has again resorted to its cunning ways in curbing the press freedom in the country by suspending the 24News TV channel’ licence.

Pemra has objected to the licence category of the channel and totally neglected the principled stance of the news channel and suspended the licence in a one-sided action.

The Pemra chairman has suspended the 24News licence despite having no authority of suspending the licence of a TV channel.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Information Fahad Haroon paid a surprise visit to Pemra Office. He remained with the Pemra chairman after Friday prayers.

After his departure, the Pemra chairman issued the illegal order of suspending the licence of 24News channel.

Reacting to the Pemra’s illegal action, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Afzal Butt said the union would do anything to save the workers of 24News TV channel. He condemned Pemra’s action. He expressed solidarity with 24News TV channel and its workers.

On May 6, 2020, Pemra also suspended the NEO TV’s licence after the expiry of its show-cause notice period. Pemra said the transmissions by NEO channel were found to be illegal. Pemra said that the channel obtained licence only for entertainment shows but it had been broadcasting current affairs programmes too.

Later on May 11, the Supreme Court restored the licence of NEO TV and barred Pemra from taking any action against it for a period of 15 days.

After hearing the arguments, the apex court's bench, led by Justice Mushir Alam, allowed the channel to return to airwaves and contest its case against the top media regulatory body.