Pak Journo Hamid Mir Barred From Hosting His Show ‘Capital Talk’

Geo TV sent Mir on a leave, claiming that he was still a part of the news channel. 

2 min read
Journalist Hamid Mir.

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir was stopped on Monday, 31 May from hosting his prime time show ‘Capital Talk’ by the private television channel Geo TV, after Mir had criticised the country’s powerful ‘establishment’ following an attack on fellow journalist Asad Toor on Friday in Islamabad.

At a protest staged by journalists, Mir had delivered a speech against the attack by three ‘unknown’ persons on Toor. Mir demanded accountability amid a series of attacks on media persons, who remain critical of the country’s military.

Geo TV sent Mir on a leave, claiming that he was still a part of the news channel. However, Mir said that it was nothing new for him and added in a tweet:

Strongly Condemned

Several journalist bodies and others have condemned the decision, believing it to because of pressure from the government.

Now recovered from his injuries, Toor was quoted as saying in a tweet, “If Government/State of Pakistan is not trying to influence and kill my case without going against the culprits, then why they pressurised GeoNews to off-air @HamidMirPAK,” PTI reported.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said in a statement, “HRCP strongly condemns the decision to take @HamidMirPAK off the air three days after he spoke fervidly against the escalation in curbs on press freedom. He must be allowed to resume his professional duties immediately and the threats against him investigated.”

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) also condemned the decision and said, “We want to know if banning Mir is a decision of Geo or a result of pressure by the government and establishment,” PFUJ president Shahzada Zulfiqar said.

Amnesty International also put out a tweet in support of Mir saying, “Censorship, harassment and physical violence must not be the price journalists pay to do their jobs.”


Editorial Committee and Lawyers Will Check for Violation of Policy and Law: Geo TV

After receiving backlash for its actions, Geo TV released a statement saying that its team of experts will check the contents of the speech made by journalist Hamid Mir.

The statement added, “The editorial committee and lawyers will check for violation of policy and law. Meanwhile, Capital Talk will be hosted by a temporary host," PTI reported.

The channel emphasised that it had faced problems for standing up to the right of freedom of speech in the past as well.

They added, “We would like to remind our viewers and readers that Geo and Jang Group were shut down, our journalists were beaten up as they faced hundreds of fake allegations of corruption, blasphemy and traitorhood, shot at, financially strangulated more than any other media organisation in the country,” PTI reported.

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry had earlier tweeted that the government had nothing to do with Mir being barred from hosting the TV show. Chaudhry was quoted as saying, “Broadcasters themselves decide which programme they have to broadcast and what its team will be.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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