Owner of Bahria Town and Chairman of Aap Malik Riaz has announced the closure of the Aap Network’s Urdu channel. Several media workers employed there now face the prospect of unemployment.
The channel management sent out an email to employees which stated that Chairman Malik Riaz wished to inform them that due to some adverse “legal and technical” reasons, it was no longer possible to operate Aap News. In view of this, all broadcasts are to end from the 11th of April. The management decided to clear dues of all employees for the month of March during April, and also to pay them for the notice period ending in May.
The email further states that in view of the difficulties that would be caused to employees, Chairman Malik Riaz had instructed that they be paid half their salary for the subsequent three months, on the 5th of every month.
During this period, he aims to set up a new channel on the license that he owns. The email notes that employees of Aap News will be considered on a preferential basis for employment here.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Federal Union of of Journalists (PFUJ) has strongly condemned the closure of the channel “without any notice and with the click of an email” by who it describes as “billionaire and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz”.
A joint statement by the President of the PFUJ Shahzada Zulfiqar, Secretary General Nasir Zaidi and Zulfikar Ali Methu, the journalists’ union slammed what it described as the “inhuman behaviour of the Seth [media owners] mafia”. According to the PFUJ, the closure resulted in joblessness for hundreds of workers a month before Ramzan and in the difficult time of the Coronavirus pandemic.
They call upon the media workers to “be united to fight the Seth attitude”, which they describe as “anti-worker” and motivated by “profiteering”.