No reason to close channel if it apologises: Pervaiz

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Thursday that there was no justification for shutting down a channel and if it had made a mistake, realised it and tendered an apology, it should be accepted. He said that it was advisable to follow the policy of live and let others live (Geo or Jeenay do).

He said the media-related issue would be resolved amicably soon as in the given situation, the issue was not of Geo but of the freedom of expression in a democratic society.

He stated this in an informal chat with media persons after he visited, along with members of the family, the residence of senior journalist Hamid Mir to inquire after him.

The minister recalled how he had resisted when the Supreme Court registrar had pushed for the banning of another TV channel and he had the same policy now that no television channel should go off the air.

About the speculation of the ban on Geo channels, the minister said, “The issue is not of Geo, it is about the freedom of expression in a democratic society and we have bigger issues in our country and all have to find a solution together.”

In this context, he referred to the challenges of terrorism, issues of economy, energy crisis and education and health of children. With regard to the situation arising from the Geo issue, the minister urged the media to bring an end to the infighting.

He confirmed having met representatives of different media organisations, including APNS, CPNE and PBA and his meetings with heads of media groups: Hameed Haroon, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Mian Amir, Zuberi and Mujeebur Rehman Shami.

Asked for his views on the law ministry’s opinion on the issue, he said his ministry had sent its views on the matter to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

“Pemra is an independent institution and let it decide about the issue in its meeting. Neither I nor anyone else should try to dictate it,” the minister maintained.Earlier, the minister, along with his spouse and children, met the bedridden journalist at his residence and remained with him for some time.

“I, along with my family, met Hamid Mir and his family. It was a family get-together. Mir’s health is much better than it was when I met him in Karachi earlier.” Rashid expressed his gratitude to the journalist for gifting him his book and said he felt honoured on receiving the gift signed by Hamid Mir. The book consists of Mir’s columns.

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