January 16, 2020
ISLAMABAD—Dawn Editor Zaffar Abbas (pictured) termed a PEMRA move to ban ARY News program Off the Record for two months as a direct attack on the freedom of the press.
The electronic media regulator said the ban comes into effect from January 16 after Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda “performed a very unethical act” during the program hosted by Kashif Abbasi.
The regulator also barred Abbasi from conducting the show and apperaing on ARY or any other channel as a guest or analyst.
The minister showed a military boot in the talk show and criticized PML-N for going back on its narrative of ‘Vote ko izzat do’ as the party backed the bill on the extension of services chiefs.
PEMRA said the minister’s arguments were “not only extremely frivolous and derogatory but also an attempt to debase a state institution.”
Abbas said on Twitter that what Vawda did was ridiculous, but what PEMRA did by banning the show for two months was worse.
What Faisal Vawda did on tv was ridiculous, and the minister is being rightly condemned by many. But what @pemra has done by banning @Kashifabbasiary and his prog for two months is worse. It’s a direct attack on the freedom of press. https://t.co/7BwxkRf8CR— Zaffar Abbas (@abbasz55) January 16, 2020
Mehr Bokhari, the spouse of Abbasi, termed the PEMRA decision ridiculous and asked if the regulator would ban the minister too.
Photo courtesy: CPJ
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