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Police, Pemra Security Staff Allegedly Beat Up 24 News Staffers During Protest

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Police and security personnel belonging to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) have allegedly beat up the staffers of 24 News during the protest against their sacking following the suspension of the channel’s license.

The security personnel on Monday fired aerial shots during the demonstration, apparently in an attempt to disperse the peaceful protesters.

On Sunday, the channel decided to shut down its operation and sack all of its 965 employees due to “blackmailing from the government.” Later, senior journalist Talat Hussain posted a text message which appeared to be from the channel’s CEO to his seniors, citing “everyday blackmailing of the federal government and paying legal fees every second day for challenging illegal Pemra notices.”

Earlier, Pemra had said in a press release it had issued the license to Central Media Network (Pvt) Ltd. for its sister concern Value TV, adding the name was “illegally” changed to 24 News HD. The regulatory body went on to say that the channel was granted the license to air entertainment content. However, it was “persistently illegally and unlawfully airing news and current affairs in continuous violation of laws”.

According to the regulatory body, it issued a show-cause notice to the channel on May 7, 2020, directing it to “revert back to its approved programming content”. The channel “failed to adhere to the directions of the authority despite several notices and opportunities of hearing provided,” it added.

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Naya Daur