Pak media watchdog bans TV anchor Kashif Abbas show for 60 days after Cabinet minister's fiasco
Islamabad, Jan 16: A Pakistani TV anchor and his news programme was banned by the Pakistan's media watchdog for 60 days on Thursday for letting a Cabinet minister to display an army boot during the talk show to ridicule the Opposition.
Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda appeared on Kashif Abbasi's programme 'Off the Record' on ARY News and used a military boot to heap scorn on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) for voting in favour of the recently passed Army Act in Parliament.
Senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N leader Javed Abbasi, who were co-participants, walked out in protest as the show host just grinned and failed to stop Vawda's antics.
Taking cognizance of the incident, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) took action against the news programme and its anchor citing violation of media laws and banned Kashif Abbasi and his show Off the Record for 60 days.
Vawda in a show with Hamid Mir of Geo New on Wednesday defended his action as a "mirror to opposition, especially PML-N, for opposing and vilifying army" but lying down to support the law. However, the minister agreed that his action was extreme and he also showed ignorance that it was against laws of PEMRA. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan "disliked the boot thing" in the show.
Reacting to the development, Amnesty International slammed the 60-day ban and said that Journalists in Pakistan should be allowed to do their jobs freely.
This two month ban is a violation of @Kashifabbasiary’s right to freedom of expression. Journalists in Pakistan should be allowed to do their jobs freely and without fear. The ban must be lifted immediately. #JournalismIsNotACrime https://t.co/H2tZEilppu— Amnesty International South Asia (@amnestysasia) 16 January 2020
"The two-month ban is a violation of Kashif Abbasi's right to freedom of expression," Amnesty said. "Journalists in Pakistan should be allowed to do their jobs freely and without fear. The ban must be lifted immediately," it added.