Journalists walk out of NA to protest firing on 24News TV workers
Journalists staged a walkout from the National Assembly’s Press Gallery on Friday in protest against the firing incident at the PEMRA head office in which the workers associated with 24NewsHD TV channel were targeted.
Realising the gravity of the situation, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser directed the state minister for parliamentary affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, to solve the matter in consultation with the journalists.
The incident had occurred in Islamabad on Monday as the government resorted to strong-hand tactics against media. The security guards first scuffled with the journalists staging a peaceful protest against the illegal closure of 24NewsHD and later resorted to firing.
The peaceful protesters were also baton-charged and pelted with stones in presence of the Islamabad deputy commissioner.
It all started as a PEMRA official on his arrival at the office hurled abuses and threatened the journalists, asking them to end their protest and leave the area.
Meanwhile, the police and district administration officials remained silent spectators and did not intervene or try to stop the PEMRA’s guards from this heinous act.
The government attitude can be gauged by the fact that no case has so far been registered against the culprits.
But it wasn’t Islamabad only where force was used against those exercising their constitutional right to protest.
In Lahore, some miscreants attacked the protesters at Thokar Niaz Baig in Lahore on the same day, causing head injury to one of the newsmen. The police present at the scene neither intervened nor took any action against the stone-throwing attackers.
However, the Lahore High Court (LHC) acted in favour of 24NewsHD on Tuesday, as it suspended the illegal orders and ordered restoration of its transmission.
On Friday, the LHC expressed its annoyance over not fully restoring the transmission of 24NewsHD and warned the authorities concerned of action under contempt of court if the orders were not executed.
These remarks were made by Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi who is hearing a petition filed by the City News Network against the suspension of 24NewsHD licence by PEMRA.
Justice Sethi reacted to the information shared by the counsel for 24NewsHD, who said the TV channel’s transmission had not been fully restored.
On Tuesday, the single-member LHC bench had issued a stay order in favour of 24NewsHD and ordered PEMRA to restore the licence, seeking a reply from the federal government, the regulatory body and other stakeholders.