ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the forcible closure of Channel 24 by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority without issuing any notice.
“We have received reports that Pemra, at the government’s behest, is forcing cable operators to suspend the transmission of 24 News channel,” a statement issued on Thursday by Afzal Butt, who heads his own faction of PFUJ, and its secretary general Ayub Jan Sarhandi said. “We have also been informed that the 24 News channel has already been taken off the air in many cities across the country,” the PFUJ faction said.
“The PFUJ believes this action of the government is a direct attack on freedom of the media,” the statement said. Since the installation of the PTI-led government last year, the media had been under a constant attack and efforts were being made to curb freedom of expression, Mr Butt and Mr Sarhandi added.
“Already there is an unannounced censorship imposed by the government and state institutions in the media. To achieve this objective, the government first crippled the media financially by stopping the payment for advertisements to media organisations and holding back advertisements simultaneously.
“Now the government has launched a naked aggression against the media by forcing cable operators to take off the air such channels as do not toe the government’s line,” the joint statement said.