LAHORE: Protest outside the offices of Jang and The News on Davis Road continued Sunday, the speakers called for releasing Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and vowed continuing their protest till his freedom.
The protesters carried placards and shouted slogans in favour of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi condemned the illegal of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He condemned curbs on the freedom of media and also condemned conspiracies for closing down Geo TV.
He demanded the government for paying dues of media groups so that salaries could be paid to the media workers. He said MSR’s arrest was politically-motivated and the result of “NAB-Niazi nexus”. Zaheer Anjum demanded from the government for releasing Jang/Geo editor-in-chief and said the fake case was actually an attack on the press, adding the rulers were following anti-press and anti-media policies for stopping them from highlighting the truth.
Those who joined the protest camp included: Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi, Jang Workers Union Secretary General Farooq Malik, Ishaq Shakir, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, Riaz Hussain, Sher Ali Khalti, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Taimoor, Allah Rakha, Muhammad Wajid, Afzal Abbas and office- bearers of the Jang Employees Union.
In Peshawar The media workers renewed the demand to release Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, as they continued the protest on Sunday.
The protesters gathered outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo. They carried banners and placards, inscribed with various slogans to highlight the demand. They raised slogans against the government and the National Accountability Bureau, adding both had joined hands to victimise the independent media.
The protesters resolved to continue the protest till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and withdrawal of cases filed against him to stop him from pursuing independent journalism. Arshad Aziz Malik, Resident Editor of Jang in Peshawar, senior journalist Shakil Farman Ali and other speakers said nobody could be allowed to deprive people of the right to free information.
The speakers flayed the rulers for targeting the Jang Media Group by employing such tactics but hoped journalists would continue to report the truth, come what may. They urged the government to release Mir Shakil as he headed the biggest media group of the country, which had always promoted independent journalism.
In Karachi, criticising the government’s move to detain Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the group editor of Jang/Geo, in a baseless case, the Home Based Women Workers Federation’s secretary-general Zahra Khan said that the Jang and Geo group has always spoken the truth and supported the workers' campaign.
She said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old case by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is a demonstration of how draconian laws are being used to punish the people.
Appreciating the Jang Group for highlighting the truth, she noted that it never compromised on principles. “Jang Group always stood with the journalists' bodies as well as the supported workers' campaigns for the cause of freedom of media and never compromised on principles”, Khan said.
She said that the presence of active trade union bodies in Jang, The News, and Javed Press shows that the group did not exploit the rights of employees working there. “The management of mediahouses where the trade union bodies do not exist exploit the rights of their employees,” she said.
The labour leader said that workers' bodies have been supporting the journalists' bodies for the great cause of freedom of media and for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who was targeted only because he refused to give up on the principle of the freedom of media.
She also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has caused financial damages to several media groups only for his stubbornness to bring it under his control and pressure them to run his narrative.
“But media groups, such as Jang and Geo, did not compromise on its independent journalism,” she said. Khan said that labour support and trade union bodies are with the employees of Jang and Geo group, which have been protesting for the release of Rahman and uphold the press freedom and democracy in the country.
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