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Marriyum Aurangzeb denies firing of alleged PTV journalist over critical question

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Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has denied sacking an alleged employee of the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) journalist for asking vexing question to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar on Tuesday, the minister said journalist Azam Chaudhry was neither permanent nor a contract employee of the PTV.

Journalist Chaudhry, who is also a president of Lahore Press Club, has claimed he lost his job at the state-owned broadcaster PTV after he asked PM Shehbaz a critical question, raising the issue of “shrinking” space for free media in the country.

Chaudhry, who was hired as an analyst by the state media broadcaster, claimed that he was shown the door the same day.

“I know Azam Chaudhry and aware of his views but despite this he was invited to [PM Shehbaz] presser and allowed to ask a question,” Aurnagzeb said in today’s media talk.

The minister went on to say had there been any reservations on journalist’s view, he would not have been invited to the presser.

She said Chaudhry was part of the PTV’s analyst poll since last September and he is still pat of the same panel at the state broadcaster.

According to Chauhdry, his services were acquired by the PTV, but after posing a hard question to the premier, he was sacked but had not been informed in writing by the employer till now.

The journalist had asked the prime minister — who was addressing a press conference at the Punjab Governor’s House along with federal ministers Ishaq Dar and Marriyum Aurangzeb on June 30 — when the unannounced restrictions on the media will be lifted.

Chaudhary, while asking, said that his question is on behalf of the entire journalist community of the country as in the present era “we are facing media bans all over Pakistan.”

“The current period is the worst related to restrictions,” he told the prime minister and asked when and how the restrictions on the media will end.

Chaudhary said that all the parties, including PML-N and PPP, claim supporting freedom of expression, but this is far from reality.

In response, the prime minister said that he was not in favour of restrictions and passed the buck to the information minister.

“If you have something legitimate to say, please speak up.”

The prime minister said that he does not want to look into the past, but what had happened is known to everyone.

However, PM Shehbaz told Chaudhary that his legitimate concerns should be addressed.

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