‘Let Geo alone!’

  • Information minister says if one media group falls it will affect entire media industry

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has emphasised the need for concentrating on real issues of the country, including security, terrorism, education, health, energy crisis and economy instead of remaining glued to the issue of Geo TV.

Talking to reporters after inquiring about the health of Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir on Thursday, Rashid said he had resisted the closure of channels in the past and he still sticks to this stance. He expressed the government’s commitment to freedom of expression.

“It is not the issue of a private channel but of freedom of expression in a democratic society,” the minister asserted. He said if any channel tenders apology over its mistake then the matter should not be prolonged.

“We have bigger issues in our country and all have to find a solution together,” the PML-N senator added.

He said that if someone apologised then it should be accepted. He further urged the media to bring an end to infighting, asserting that if one media group falls, it will affect the entire media industry of Pakistan.

He said no television channel should go off-air as the right of expression has to be ensured in a democratic dispensation.

Emphasising the need for promoting the culture of tolerance, the minister said the ongoing tug of war among various mediahouses should come to an end and they should move shoulder-to-shoulder for the country’s security and progress.

To a question, he said he has held deliberations with several journalists and various bodies to resolve the issue.

To another question, Rashid said PEMRA was an independent regulatory authority and he could not dictate it. He said PEMRA has yet to hold meetings on the Geo’s issue. The senator said PEMRA has yet to hold meetings on the issue of a private media channel.

He said according to a Transparency International report, their government has reduced corruption in Pakistan.

Earlier, the minister, along with his family met Hamid Mir at his residence and enquired after his health.

“I along with my family met Hamid Mir and his family. It was a family get-together,” he said, adding that Mir’s health was much better than it was when he met him in Karachi earlier. He also expressed his gratitude towards the journalist for gifting him his book, saying the he was ‘honoured’.