- Journalist Azam Chowdhary was never a PTV employee.
- Journalist invited to PM Shahbaz’s press conference irrespective of his views: Aurangzeb.
- The information minister says journalists are still part of PTV’s analyst panel.
Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb has rejected a journalist’s claim that she was fired from the state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) for asking an important question to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar on Tuesday, the minister said journalist Azam Chowdhary was never hired by PTV either as a permanent or contract employee.
Journalist Chaudhary, who is also the president of the Lahore Press Club, has claimed that he asked PM Shehbaz an important question raising the issue of “shrinking” space for independent media in the country, after which he attacked state-owned broadcaster PTV I lost my job.
Chowdhary, who was employed as an analyst by the state media broadcaster, claimed that he was shown the door the same day.
He said, “I know Azam Chaudhary and am aware of his views, but despite this he was invited.” [PM Shehbaz] Pressmen and were allowed to ask one question,” Auranagzeb said at today’s media briefing.
The minister further said that if there was any objection to the views of the journalist, he would not have been invited to the press conference.
He said Chowdhary was part of PTV’s analyst survey since last September and he is still a member of the same panel at the state broadcaster.
According to Chowdhary, his services were acquired by PTV, but he was terminated after asking tough questions to the Prime Minister, but till date the employer has not informed him in writing.
The journalist had asked the prime minister – who was addressing a press conference at the Punjab Governor’s House on June 30 with federal ministers Ishaq Dar and Maryam Aurangzeb – when the undeclared restrictions on the media would be lifted.
Chowdhury raised the question saying that his question is on behalf of the entire journalist community of the country as at present “we are facing media ban across Pakistan”.
He told the Prime Minister, “The current phase is the worst phase in terms of restrictions.” He asked when and how the restrictions on the media would end.
Chowdhary said that all parties including PML-N and PPP claim to support freedom of expression, but this is far from the reality.
In response, the Prime Minister said that he was not in favor of sanctions and put the responsibility on the Minister of Information.
“If you have something valid to say, please speak up.”
The Prime Minister said that he does not want to look into the past, but what happened is known to all.
However, PM Shehbaz told Chowdhary that his valid concerns should be addressed.