Journalists to protest if curbs on channels, newspapers not lifted
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Friday announced that if the ‘no-go areas’ artificially formed to block the transmission of Geo and ARY News and circulation of leading newspapers Jang and The News are not eliminated within 24 hours, then it would set up protest camps in front of press clubs across the country.
Addressing a protest rally in front of the National Press Club (NPC), PFUJ President Afzal Butt said they would continue to protest till the transmissions of both Geo and ARY News were restored all over the country.
“We want to give a clear message to the government, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and defence institutions that we have achieved freedom of press after a long and hard struggle and if anyone tries to deprive us of it, then we will launch a strong protest movement in the country,” he said.
He said Pemra suspends licences of news channels in such a hurry it seems it is issuing orders to close down a general store. “Pemra should mend its ways because journalists will not make any compromise over the freedom of press.”
PFUJ Secretary General Khursheed Abbasi said Geo News had completed the sentence period but it was still being blocked in various areas and there were clearly ‘no-go areas’ for this channel and the relevant authorities were acting like silent spectators.
“We will launch such a strong protest movement that those trying to curb the freedom of press will find no way except to bow down before the demands of journalists,” he said. The chairman All Pakistan Council of Press Clubs, Arshad Ansari, said they condemned the efforts being made to block the circulation of Jang and The News and the relevant government institutions should play their due role in line with the rules and procedures.
RIBJA President Amir Butt said there was a conspiracy to divide the media with an aim to mute those voices that raise the issues of marginalised people and insist for the rule of law in the country.
Later, PFUJ President Afzal Butt, Secretary General Khursheed Abbasi, NPC Secretary General Tariq Chaudhry, RIUJ Secretary General Bilal Dar and senior journalist Qurban Satti presented a memorandum to officials of the Egyptian Embassy against the imprisonment of three journalists in Egypt.