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July 7, 2020

Protest against private TV channel closure: Pemra guards fire at journalists

Top Story

 
July 7, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Security personnel at the Pemra Headquarters Monday opened fire at journalists protesting against the closure of Chanel 24.

The Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) organized the protest. The media persons, who were planning to disperse peacefully, became angry and re-started protest after the security officials thrashed them.

The firing took place in the presence of assistant commissioner. The police soon reached the scene and arrested two security personnel. The protesting media workers lodged a complaint against the assault, nominating chairman Pemra and other officials.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned firing on journalists. In a joint statement, President PFUJ Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi demanded immediate suspension of those responsible for firing and an inquiry into the incident.

“This is an attempt to terrify journalists protesting the loss of their livelihoods,” they said and criticized the Pemra for suspending the licence of Channel 24. “The issue could have been resolved by the management and authorities in a civilised manner. The PFUJ is determined to protecting their rights,” they added.

The Pemra late Monday night issued a statement, claiming that its employees had been made hostage by the Channel 24 staff.

It alleged that the newschannel staff gathered outside the Pemra Headquarters to register their protest against suspension of license awarded to M/s Central Media Network Pvt. Ltd, Lahore and all Pemra employees were made hostage, as none was allowed to enter or leave the premises.

“The staff scuffled with the security guards and the police, it alleged, deputed to protect the office building and attempted to enter the premises.

During the brawl, a security guard pressed the trigger of his gun inadvertently and a bullet hit the floor without hurting anyone,” said the statement.

The statement said the guard had no intention to target any journalist. Reacting to a protest at the Pemra Head Office here, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator Shibli Faraz Monday said respecting law was the duty of all Pakistanis. In a tweet, the minister said, “Disregard for all notices resulted in the suspension of Channel 24. Ensuing protest is very unfortunate”.