Countrywide protest against closure of Geo News, ARY TV in Pakistan

November 18th, 2007 - 1:21 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov 18 (ANI): Journalists, lawyers, political workers and civil society activists have staged protest demonstrations against curbs on the media especially shutting down of Geo News and ARY OneWorld in all major cities and towns of Pakistan.
Responding to a call, given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) and the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), hundreds of protestors participated in the demonstrations against the government for shutting down the transmission.
Speakers termed the closure of Geo TV and another channel as the economic murder of hundreds of journalists and other staff.
Hamid Mir, Executive Editor of the Geo News, said the state security agencies were coercing the media men through various tactics. On the other hand, the government was pressurising the independent media with the help of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and PEMRA.
Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors Council (CPNE) have also noted with alarm the rapidly deteriorating environment of freedom of expression and freedom of press in Pakistan.
The APNS and the CPNE in a joint statement have said that the recent taking off the air of Geo and ARY news channels by the Dubai Government is viewed by all parts of the press, as a serious blow to any hopes for improvement in the situation.
The joint statement stated that the single most important step that needs to be taken today by the government is an urgent restoration of all television news channels in Pakistan.
The APNS and the CPNE are firmly of the view that freedom of the print media cannot be separated from the freedom of expression within the electronic media.
Since the same groups of editors and journalists comprise the work force of the entire press any blow sustained by a part of the press will cause irreparable damage to the rest of the media, The News reported.
RIUJ President Afzal Butt said after placing restriction on the print media, now the government has started to shut down the electronic media.
“But journalists will not allow the government to shut down the TV channels and impose curbs on the media through censorship,” he added.
The protesters said that on the one hand the government was claiming to be a champion of freedom of expression, but on the other, independent TV channels were being banned.
The Association of TV Journalists secretary announced that a ‘candlelit protest demo’ will be held outside the Geo offices on Monday.
He requested all media organisations, journalists, friends and civil society organisations to participate in the demonstration to express their solidarity and come along with candles in their hands. (ANI)

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