Journalist sacked for asking PM critical question


LAHORE: A journalist lost his job at the state-owned broadcaster Pakistan Television (PTV) after he asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif a critical question regarding the issue of “shrinking” space for free media in the country.

Lahore Press Club (LPC) President Azam Chaudhry, who was hired as an analyst by the state media broadcaster, was shown the door the same day.

According to Chauhdry, his services were acquired by the PTV, but after posing a hard question to the premier, he was sacked but had not been informed in writing by the employer till now.

The journalist had asked the Prime Minister — who was addressing a press conference at the Punjab Governor’s House along with federal ministers Ishaq Dar and Marriyum Aurangzeb on June 30 — when the unannounced restrictions on the media will be lifted.

Chaudhary, while asking, said that his question is on behalf of the entire journalist community of the country as in the present era “We are facing media bans all over Pakistan.”

“The current period is the worst related to restrictions,” he told the PM and asked when and how the restrictions on the media will end.

Chaudhary said that all the parties, including PML-N and PPP, claim supporting freedom of expression, but this is far from reality.

In response, the PM said that he was not in favour of restrictions and passed the buck to the information minister.

“If you have something legitimate to say, please speak up.”

The Premier said that he does not want to look into the past, but what had happened is known to everyone.

However, PM Shehbaz told Chaudhary that his legitimate concerns should be addressed.

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