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FIR Lodged Against Channel24 Owner Mohsin Naqvi On Charges Of ‘Spreading Sectarianism’

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Channel 24 News CEO Mohsin Naqvi has been booked under Section 298-A and Anti-Terrorism Act at a police station in Lahore after his channel broadcasted alleged blasphemous remarks on Ashura.

According to the copy of the FIR, the channel aired footage of a Shia cleric saying a prayer, wherein purported blasphemous remarks were uttered against Ameer Muawiya and his father Abu Sufyan — companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“By broadcasting this prayer, 24 News tried to fan sectarianism in Pakistan,” the FIR alleged, asking the authorities to take action against Naqvi under ATA and 298-A.

On Sunday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) suspended the licence of Channel 24 News with ‘immediate effect’ after the news channel aired ‘hate inciting content’ during a special Muharram transmission.

In a press release, the regulatory body had said it had issued an advisory to all television channels on Aug 20, directing them ‘not to air material that would harm inter-faith harmony or which was based on sectarianism and inciting hate’.

In response to the backlash over airing of the objectionable content, Channel 24 News issued an apology and said the editorial board failed to exercise control in this particular instance because the ‘content [of the dua that caused offence] was in the Arabic language’.

It may be noted here that on July 6 Channel 24 had decided to shut down its operation and sack all of its 965 employees, owing to ‘blackmailing’ from the government.

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Naya Daur