PFUJ fears more media harassment
PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) fears more pressure, “forced suspension” and threats on media, particularly TV channels, based on the country’s politically charged atmosphere.
In a press statement released on Tuesday, the PFUJ added that if political parties were showing such intolerance several months before the elections, “what kind of pressure will the media face when the elections are actually upon us?” It hoped that the political parties would avoid pressuring the media on May 12 when Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry arrives in Karachi to address the bar.
According to the release, print and electronic media should be allowed to make their own decision. It was indirectly referring to the Muttahida Qaumi Mohajirs, which reportedly ordered cable operators to take three private TV channels off air. “Electronic media freedom in the past months has reached alarming proportions and private TV channels, as well as cable operators seem to be the worst victims,” the PFUJ statement said. The union excluded the Frontier provinces from the list of “press predators” in the country.
The “forced suspension” of ARY, GEO and AAJ on May 5 was “unfortunate” as it deprived people of their right to know, the statement said. “It is surprising that in the eyes of critics these channels can be professionally honest one day and dishonest the next.” The PFUJ also condemned the forced closure of video and CD shops in North Wazirstan and the threats to cable operators and journalists by both extremists and security agencies in tribal areas.
The PFUJ also rejected the prime minister’s clarificaon on suspension of transmission of three private TV channels and said it appeared that the government was “divided” over the issue. “Should the journalists believe in Aziz’s statement that it was due to technical reasons or the MQM’s stance that it was the ‘people’s reaction to professional dishonesty?’” it asked.
Source: Daily times