Mr. Hamid Mir, a very prominent anchor of Geo TV who was banned from appearing on any TV show after the emergency shares his feelings in this letter submitted after the press conference he had on the invitation of Pakistan Federal Union Journalists . Its a must read specially if you want to understand whats going on behind the covers of the new form of Media Censorship
Dear Journalist Colleagues,
Thanks for coming to this press conference on the invitation of Pakistan Federal Union Journalists.
As you know that Musharraf regime have banned many TV anchors including me without any written charge against us. The main objective of banning us was to pressurize Pakistani media to accept a new code of conduct for print and electronic journalism. This new code was drafted just to manipulate elections. Musharraf regime started pressurizing us to accept new media laws in 2006.I was served with a notice from the government in October 2006 when I hosted a talk show on the role of intelligence agencies in politics. I responded that notice through my lawyer and took a stand that I never violated any law. Government never issued any notice to me after my response.
In January 2007 some top government officials offered me to join state controlled PTV. They said that private TV channels have no future and a big action will soon be taken against all of them. I refused. My office was attacked in March 2007 in Islamabad and I was also beaten by the police. Pervez Musharraf apologized to me after that incident but later on some more incidents took place. His words were different from the actions of his government. Journalists were kidnapped, arrested and tortured many times in different cities. Many of us received threats. I wrote in Daily Jang on May 2nd 2007 that government have decided to ban live TV programes. The government was again angry in August 2007 when I wrote about its plans against media and judiciary in “The News. I sent my family outside Pakistan after some threats in June 2007.In September and October 2007, President House directly tried to silence me. They offered many bribes.
Emergency was imposed on November 3rd 2007.All the TV channels were banned. We were not available on cable but I was doing my talk show for the satellite viewers. When I started participating in the protest rallies organized by PFUJ and RIUJ, I was informed by a minister of the previous regime that I could be killed in a small road accident. Musharraf regime manipulated to shut down our transmission centre from Dubai on November 16th.Geo TV remained banned for more than two months. Its transmission was resumed in the third week of January 2008 when Musharraf got assurance that I and Shahid Masood will not appear on Geo TV. He dictated his wish when the economic survival of the Geo TV was in danger. It was a clear blackmailing.
Today the Pakistani media is working under pressure. Musharraf regime have plans to rigg the elections. I demand that Musharraf should come out with some justification of banning us with evidence otherwise we have no doubts that “we are banned just to protect his rigging plans. Rigging few anchors will not help Musharraf.
I am sure that Pakistani media will not allow Musharraf to rig the elections openly. Media will fight against the terror and tyranny on February 18th.