Protoday247 News Monitoring Desk: PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain highlighted the plight of the Pakistani media in the midst of recent curbs and struggles in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Hussain’s letter came after the license for the 24 News HD channel has been suspended by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
The former prime minister said the media was the state’s fourth pillar and it seemed like it was being targeted because of the prevailing circumstances. “There’s a disparity between media and government, but those who drift you away won’t bear any loss; it’s you who are going to face problems,” The PML-Q chief said he had heard of the detention of PM Imran Khan regarding Jang/Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and that the belief that the PTI-led government was gagging the media had gained momentum since the cancelation of the license for 24 News HD channel.
“As the world experiences several crises, it often places curbs on the freedom of expression,” he added. Speaking of media ties during his term, he said: “The then-information minister, Sheik Rashid, brought me a report claiming that a TV channel license will be given after Rs5million has been charged.
“I told him the amount was not required,” he said, adding that Rashid was ordered to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that channels might function without charging such a heavy license fee but should refrain from broadcasting anti-state material and that action would be taken if they did. Hussain said he spoke with the Minister of Communication ShibliFaraz and “I told him I hope he moves in his father’s footsteps.”
“His father, Ahmed Faraz, had been dear to people from all walks of life,” he added. Hussain further advised the prime minister by suggesting that talks could settle all these matters. “I hope your information minister will hold talks with all the owners of the media house and solve the issues,” he said. “To save media staff from homelessness, the proposal to withdraw the 24 News HD channel authorization will be reversed”.