Press Statement

News channels blocked in Pakistan

05 Apr, 2019

Pakistani authorities took Channel 24 News and its sister channels offline following a report about Prime Minister Imran Khan. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly criticized the decision and called on the Pakistan authorities not to censor the news.

On March 31, journalist Najam Sethi reported that Prime Minister Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi had split after a verbal fight. Following the news, PERMA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) without issuing any notice has forced cable operators to suspend the transmission of Channel 24 News.

Channel 24 News has had a partial restoration of services in some cities.

PFUJ president GM Jamali condemned this form of censorship and intolerance. Since the time the government came into power, the media have been the main target. The government began its campaign to weaken the media stopping government advertisement to media houses which then caused financial crisis for the newsrooms. Thousands of journalists and media workers in the country have been illegally shacked. Different types of threats including censoring content, kidnapping journalists are faced by the journalists in Pakistan.

“PFUJ, and its affiliates across the country, strongly condemn Channel 24 News and sister channels taken off air – this is the worst form of censorship and intolerance. Since coming into power, PM Imran Khan and his Government have used various tactics to try to subdue the media and this will not be tolerated,” Jamali said.

The IFJ said: “The government and authorities cannot simply blocked the transmission of a broadcaster because they do like its reports. That is blatant censorship. The Pakistan authorities must immediately restore the Channel 24 News services across the country and respect the independence of the media in Pakistan.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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