No reports of channel blockade in country: Kaira
ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira has said that the government has not received any report about blockade of TV channel anywhere in the country.
He said that some cable operators had readjusted the placements of channels.
Journalists protest ban on Geo news in Abbotabad
ABBOTABAD: Journalists took out a protest rally again ban on Geo news here on Sunday.
Despite the enforcement of section 144 in the city, a large number of journalists turned up at Jinnah chowk from where a rally was taken out which ended at Cantt police station chowk.
Journalists raised slogan against the government and ban on Geo news. They asked the government to refrain from curbing the freedom of media and expression.
blamed for taking illegal actions
Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (COAP) alleged
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)
of serving illegal show cause notices to cable operators over banning Geo News transmission
following President Zardari’s directives in parts of country.
a press conference here, office-bearers of COAP
said, “We have convened emergency meetings in all
provinces over this issue legally and the PEMRA is serving show cause notices to cable
said, “No article in PEMRA rules restricts cable
operators to tune channels on any particular position
therefore the COAP must not be forced by the government to shuffle
demanded the PEMRA should suspend serving show cause notices and
call off served notices at the earliest.
lawyers vow to stage sit-in in Karachi
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Saturday has strongly
condemned the arrests and torture perpetrated by police
on the participants of lawyers’ long march and termed
the ban on Geo transmission as undemocratic act.
from separate political parties attended the All Parties
Conference (APC) organized by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf
Sindh and announced to partake in lawyers’ long march
in Karachi on March 16.
from Jamat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI),
Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Awami Tehreek (AT) and
Labour Party were present in the APC here.
at the conference strongly deplored Karachi police
torture and arrests of political activists and lawyers
and said, “Police are still raiding on lawyers and
political activists’ residences.”
also deplored ban on Geo News transmission in some parts
of country saying, “Media are being forced to hide
activists announced to gather in City Court followed by
staging sit-in with lawyers on M.A Jinnah road on March
the Print Edition
PM accepts Sherry Rehman's resignation
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman on Saturday formally presented her resignation to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and the latter accepted it.
Sources told Online that it had been decided that Minister for Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira would be the new information minister.
Sherry told the prime minister that some ministers were overstepping their powers and were interfering in her ministry and her prestige was being affected adversely due to the directives issued by these ministers.
The sources said that she had not tendered resignation due to the government policy with respect to the long march and she would continue to support the government policies. Earlier, Sherry had indicated to resign if a crackdown was launched on the media.
After much deliberation, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Sherry Rehman. Sherry Rehman is the third minister in the PPP-led cabinet who has resigned from her office.
protest against media curbs
transmissions being restored by cable operators at
ISLAMABAD: Journalist bodies, including the PFUJ, RIUJ,
PUJ, KHUJ and KUJ, civil society activists, political
parties and people belonging to all walks of life held
countrywide protests on Saturday against curbs on the
media and closure of the Geo News and other TV channels.
Meanwhile, cable operators in different cities have
started restoring the original position of the Geo News
channel at their cable networks on the request of the
people. They have also started airing the Geo
transmission at places where they were closed earlier.
Earlier, a large number of people belonging to different
walks of life, including media persons, under the banner
of the RIUJ, members of civil society and students,
staged a demonstration in front of the National Press
Club in order to condemn the ban imposed on the TV
The protesters slammed the ban, calling it a cowardly
act and a hasty decision taken by the government.
They hailed the decision of Sherry Rehman, who tendered
her resignation as minister for information and
broadcasting after a cabinet meeting on Friday night, as
the Geo TV channel was blocked in major cities of the
Addressing the demonstrators, speakers said the ban on
the media was linked to the forthcoming long march, as
the event was getting a comprehensive coverage from the
Holding placards inscribed with anti-government slogans,
the demonstrators vowed to continue their struggle till
the freedom of press and judiciary.
They said there was no difference between a democratic
government and a dictator's regime, as the media and the
lawyers were confronting the same problems and
PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said if both the
democratic government and the dictator were taking the
same steps to curb the media, media persons were
justified in distrusting the government.
"It is regrettable that such a shameful act to curb
the media has been taken by a democratically-elected
government," he said.
Hashmi said the struggle of the media for the free and
independent judiciary was no less than that of the
lawyers, as both of them were fighting for the cause in
their own ways.
"Our party appreciates the media for presenting the
true picture before the masses through their bold
reporting and analysis," he said.
He said President Asif Ali Zardari had promised to
restore the deposed judges when the PPP formed the
coalition government with the PML-N, but he had been
reluctant to fulfil his commitment.
He said the PPP's non-serious attitude prompted the PML-N,
the lawyers and ultimately the media to opt for the way
of protests and march in order to get their rights.
Senator Zafar Ali Shah said that in the prevailing
situation, all the four pillars of the State, including
the media, were shaking.
"It is time when the government must take sensible
steps in order to secure our country by strengthening
its pillars," he said.
He said the media had become so advance that each and
every statement and act of political workers was on
record and there were a few chances left for them to
deny what they had said or promised.
Meanwhile, a large number of civil rights activists
gathered in front of the Jinnah Super Market and chanted
slogans for the reinstatement of the deposed judges and
lifting of the ban imposed on the media.
Agencies add: Meanwhile, the journalists' community
staged a walkout from the session of the National
Assembly against the ban on private TV channels, but
ended their protest later after an assurance by Minister
of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mehreen Anwar Raja
and Parliamentary Information Secretary Azeem Daultana.
Mehreen Raja, after listening to the demands of
journalists, said that the democratic government even
could not think of imposing curbs on the media and if
cable operators stopped the transmission themselves, the
government would take notice.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)
expressing deep concern and condemning the
highhandedness of cable operators in mishandling the
news channels' (Geo, Aaj, Royal and others) placement or
stoppage on their respective cable networks throughout
the country has asked the government to take stern
action against the cable operators and correct the
situation within next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, PFUJ has constituted a fact finding body to
probe into this matter and submit its report within next
48 hours to ascertain the facts and fiction and then
draw the future line of action after taking into account
all these reports and talking to all stakeholders
including the PBA, media owners and all the
The members of the fact finding body includes Zafar
Abbas Resident Editor of Dawn for Federal Capital,
Mohammad Riaz, President Khyber Union of Journalists for
NWFP, Saleem Shahid, Senior Assistant Secretary PFUJ for
Balochistan, Ahsan Zia, President Punjab Union of
Journalists for Punjab, Javed Chaudhry, President
Karachi Union of Journalists for Sindh.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders has condemned the
blocking off transmission of Geo News and Aaj TV in
several major cities.
"It is shocking to see a democratic government use
the same censorship measures as Pervez Musharraf's
military government," Reporters Without Borders
said. "We urge the authorities in Islamabad to
restore transmission of Geo News and Aaj TV without
delay. Such crude censorship will no way help to resolve
Pakistan's political crisis."
Our correspondent from Lahore adds: Meanwhile, hundreds
of people belonging to different walks of life condemned
and chanted slogans against the government for blocking
Geo News and other news channels.
People gathered at the Lahore Press Club (LPC) and
termed the government move against the media a blatant
attack on independence of the press.
Representatives of various media organisations, members
of civil society, lawyers, activists and workers of
various religious and political bodies like Khaksar
Tehrik, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith and Pakistan
Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) attended the demonstration.
Members of the Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) and
Pakistan Electronic Media Journalists Association (PEMJA)
demanded the government immediately restore
transmissions of Geo News and Royal News, and withdrawal
of the PEMRA Ordinance.
They said the curbs on the media were violation of basic
human rights as access to information was a basic right
of every individual, adding that the act of the
government had exposed its intentions against the media
and the rulers were following policies of ex-president
The demonstrators with black armbands were carrying
banners and placards inscribed with anti-government and
deplores intimidating actions against Jang Group
Hameed Haroon, President and Muhammad Aslam Kazi,
Secretary General of the All Pakistan Newspapers
Society, deplore the intimidating actions initiated by
the federal and the Punjab governments against the Jang
Group of Newspapers.
These actions include banning of government
advertisement in varying degrees by both these
governments so as to affect the financial strangulation
of these newspapers. In an associated move, the
governments and Pemra have persuaded cable operators to
remove Jang Group's television channel, Geo News in the
third confrontation between the media group and sitting
governments over the last two years.
The APNS believes that such actions not only lead to a
marked worsening of prospects for a productive dialogue
between the government and the press but are warning
signals to those interested in safeguarding the future
of democracy and of a representative and responsible
governance in Pakistan.
It is not only the media but all political parties
inclined to a democratic dispensation that must realise
that a free press is not a contestant or rival in the
political sweepstake to government but a prerequisite
for the functioning of democracy itself.
We in the APNS appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari and
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the one side and
former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former chief
minister Shahbaz Sharif on the other side to sit down
together and thrash out an equitable solution to
problems of constitution making, governance and an
independent judiciary otherwise, following the tragic
resignation of former journalist-turned Federal
Information Minister, Sherry Rehman, the free press
would become the first but certainly not the last
casualty in an already tottering deadly game of power
dominos in this democratic set-up.
TV blockage flayed
: The former Federal Minister for Human Rights, Ansar
Burney, has strongly condemned the blockage of Geo News
in the country.
According to a press release issued here on Saturday,
the chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust International
said the present government was running the country like
a dictatorship and had made it a police state.
Burney said Geo TV, under the kind leadership of Mir
Shakil-ur-Rehman, was airing the truth and creating the
awareness against those who were violating human rights,
therefore it had been punished.
Ansar Burney strongly condemned the blockage of Geo TV
and demanded its immediate restoration. He assured Mir
Shakil-ur-Rehman of his all-out cooperation in the
former’s struggle for freedom of the press and for
showing the real faces of violators of human rights and
In another press statement, Christian Rights Commission
Punjab (CRCP) Chairman Samuel Khokar said that blocking
Geo TV’s transmission proved the government’s
failure. He said the media was independent in the
country and nobody could put curbs on it, arguing that
if media did not help create awareness among the masses
who would do the job. He said Geo TV had made tremendous
progress as it had been successful to attract viewers
across the world. He blamed that President Asif Ali
Zardari was not sincere with the people of the country.
The All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), in a
statement, said the blockage of Geo TV’s transmission
had exposed faces of democratic leaders in the country.
applying Musharraf’s techniques on media: Ahsan
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary
Information Ahsan Iqbal said General Musharraf used
tactics to impose a ban on the media and arrest
political workers and lawyers, but in the end, he
himself had to resign.
At the moment, the government was also doing the same
and would meet the same fate, Ahsan said while
addressing lawyers at the Islamabad Bar Association here
He said Zardari had also banned the media and tried to
stop the lawyers and the political workers from the long
march, but the results would be the same and Zardari
would lose his government.
He said the government had impounded hundreds of
containers to block the roads and stop participants of
the long march.
He said business activities were at halt and import and
export had suspended, which caused the loss of around $1
This loss would be recovered from those, who had given
the orders to impound the containers, he added.
condemns crackdown on long marchers
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Saturday
condemned the crackdown against the participants of long
march being launched across the country for the
independence of judiciary, rule of law and supremacy of
The Law Reforms Committee of Pakistan Bar Council was
held here under the chairmanship of Dr A Khalid Ranjha.
The meeting while passing a resolution, proposed by
Hamid Khan, condemns the crackdown of police and other
so called law enforcement agencies in Sindh, Punjab and
other places against the peaceful long march of the
lawyers and their supporting political parties and civil
society organisations on and after March 12, 2009.
The committee condemns arrest and detention of lawyers,
political party and civil society activists to scuttle
the long march and dharna, and, in particular, the
committee condemns the detention of Mahmoodul Hasan,
Vice-Chairman of Sindh Bar Council; Muhammad Ali Abbasi
and Naeem Qureshi, President and Secretary of Karachi
Bar Association, respectively, and the members of its
Managing Committee at the beginning of the long march
from Karachi on March 12, 2009.
The committee expressed the confidence and resolved that
the lawyers’ movement would succeed in the attainment
of their objective of restoration of judiciary of
November 2, 2007.
protest media ban
Journalists, lawyers others participated in a rally on
Saturday to protest the ban on the transmission of Geo
and another private TV channel by the authorities. The
rally began from the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and moved
towards the Chief Minister House via Deen Muhammad Wafai
Road, M.R Kyani Road and Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road.
The participants of the rally chanted slogans against
the government for “usurping the basic rights of the
citizens and the media while trumpeting that it was a
‘democratic’ setup.” A heavy contingent of police
accompanied the marchers and high-ranking police
officials tried to stop the rally near the Pearl
Continental Hotel to prevent it from reaching the CM
House. The journalists, however, persuaded them to allow
the march and the police agreed.
Imran Aslam of Geo TV urged the government to stop the
practice of stifling the voice of the media if it did
not toe their line. “Repressive measures are not
successful anywhere in the world. History is full of
such examples but unfortunately the government deems it
the only way to stop the voice of justice and fair
play,” Aslam said.
Karachi Press Club (KPC) President Imtiaz Faran
criticised at the undemocratic steps taken by the
government, which, he said, was “adopting dictatorial
measures instead of realising its mistakes and making
amendments.” Faran praised Geo’s role for “not
shrinking from its duty even with news that might be
considered ‘against’ the government.”
“Sadly the government is not ready to act in a
democratic manner. It just claims that they have
democracy,” Faran concluded.