Info minister rejects reports of PTV journalist's sacking

Marriyum says Azam Chaudhry was never a PTV employee: ‘He is only a member of an issues-based analyst pool’

NEWSDESK   July 11, 2023
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb briefing the media persons on November 30, 2022. PHOTO: APP


Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has rejected reports of a journalist’s alleged sacking from the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), saying the individual was never a PTV employee but only part of an analyst pool for the state broadcaster.

According to reports, the ‘contract’ of journalist Azam Chaudhry was terminated shortly after he asked Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif a vexing question regarding the "diminishing space for freedom of speech" and curbs on media in Pakistan during a press conference in Lahore. 

Azam, who also happens to be the president of the Lahore Press Club, said that, immediately after the PM’s press conference at the Governor House, he was informed that “he was no more with PTV”, and was off-air from a program he was scheduled to record from the venue. 

Also read Vexing question to PM costs journalist his job

But the federal information minister on Tuesday rejected the news reports as “false and baseless”, claiming Azam had never been a PTV employee. The minister claimed that he was only a member of an issues-based analyst pool for the PTV and had not been removed from the pool or asked to leave.

In a tweet, she clarified that nothing of the sort has been communicated to him and that he was still part of the PTV Lahore’s pool of analysts.

She further said that the views and opinions of the said journalist were known to the government at the time he was invited to the press conference.

“If the government wanted to suppress his voice or questions, he would not have been invited and given an opportunity to ask his questions. The prime minister answered his questions in detail,” she said.

The minister said that she also answered his questions at the press conference, and that the PM also spent a significant amount of time answering questions from various reporters at the Governor's House that day.

Criticising the former government led by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Marriyum claimed that PM Shehbaz and the present government firmly believed in the freedom of media.

The PTI government used to only allow selected reporters and journalists to its fascist PM’s press conferences, she remarked, adding that the present government has ensured that PM Shehbaz Sharif’s press conferences are open to all reporters and journalists.


(With input from APP)


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