Radio Free never takes money from corporate interests, which ensures our publications are in the interest of people, not profits. Radio Free provides free and open-source tools and resources for anyone to use to help better inform their communities. Learn more and get involved at radiofree.org

Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021–In response to the suspension today of Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, host of “Capital Talk” news program, by the Geo News network following Mir’s critical comments about the Pakistan military at a rally on Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“Forcing a popular news talk show host like Hamid Mir off the air after voicing criticism of Pakistan’s military—and support for a fellow journalist—only underscores the lack of true press freedom in Pakistan,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Critical comments about key state institutions are an important component of democracy, not a scourge to be eliminated.”

Mir’s suspension followed comments about the military at a rally outside the National Press Club in Islamabad in support of journalist Asad Ali Toor, according to news reports, video posted on Twitter, text messages from Mir to CPJ, and a statement issued by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, which was posted on Twitter. Toor was assaulted at his home last week, as CPJ documented.

A Geo News representative, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, told CPJ in a telephone conversation that Geo was in the process of drafting a statement for public release on Mir’s suspension.

Mir survived an attempt on his life in 2014, when he was hit by six bullets in Karachi, as CPJ reported at the time.


This content originally appeared on Committee to Protect Journalists and was authored by Committee to Protect Journalists.

Citations

[1]https://apnews.com/article/pakistan-entertainment-talk-shows-business-cf9d32ca123a987cb2f1224344801cd0[2]https://apnews.com/article/pakistan-entertainment-talk-shows-business-cf9d32ca123a987cb2f1224344801cd0[3] Journalists, rights bodies condemn move to take TV anchor Hamid Mir 'off air' - Pakistan - DAWN.COM ➤ https://www.dawn.com/news/1626749/journalists-rights-bodies-condemn-move-to-take-tv-anchor-hamid-mir-off-air[4] Major Gaurav Arya (Retd) on Twitter: "#AsadToor a young Pakistani journalist was attacked & brutally beaten by ISI goons. At a protest gathering, top Pakistani journalist & TV anchor @HamidMirPAK launched a scathing attack on the Pak Army. Hamid Mir has been shot in the past for raising his voice against injustice.… https://t.co/Li7FkKgmLC" ➤ https://twitter.com/majorgauravarya/status/1398834635908419587[5] Murtaza Solangi on Twitter: "PFUJ condemns banning of @HamidMirPAK on @geonews_urdu… " ➤ https://twitter.com/murtazasolangi/status/1399325148130414594/photo/1[6] Unidentified men attack, bind, and gag Pakistani journalist Asad Ali Toor at his home in Islamabad - Committee to Protect Journalists ➤ https://cpj.org/2021/05/unidentified-men-attack-bind-and-gag-pakistani-journalist-asad-ali-toor-at-his-home-in-islamabad/[7] More threats against Pakistan's Hamid Mir - Committee to Protect Journalists ➤ https://cpj.org/2014/11/pakistan-7/