Who stopped Asif Zardari’s interview on Geo TV?
ISLAMABAD: Geo television had to cancel an interview of former president Asif Ali Zardari by senior journalist Hamid Mir barely it began broadcasting what the host said “full of disclosures and revelations”.
The last-minute cancellation of the interview triggered a debate on the social media with some including Hamid Mir saying that “we are not living in a free country.”
Soon after Geo ran a ticker at 8 pm that the interview — whose short clips are available on Youtube with Zardari saying that a mega probe against Prime Minister Imran Khan is in the making — will not be broadcast in the show Capital Talk, with most viewers scratching their heads over this vexing question who stopped the live broadcast, but no one knowing the answer.
Soon after the interview was stopped, Hamid Mir took to the twitter stating that an interview of a declared terrorist (Ehsanullah Ehsan of TTP) was allowed to be broadcast, who had claimed responsibility for killing of children in Peshawar Army Public School but an interview of mere an accused (Zardari) was not put on the screen.
What’s wrong in it?I asked some questions to ex President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari he responded?Is he bigger criminal than Ehsanullah Ehsan former spokesman of TTP?Remember Ehsanullah Ehsan gave interview from official custody I interviewed Asif Zardari in Parliament House pic.twitter.com/3PqaG2qydx
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) July 1, 2019
Hamid Mir also twitted that he interviewed Imran Khan in 2017 when he was declared an absconder and he was underground.
Senior journalist Saleem Safi said that “preventing Asif Ali Zardari’s interview with Hamid Mir is shameful and condemable. Mir is justified in asking if Ehsanullah Ehsan’s interview is allowed broadcasting, then why the former president can’t. He (Hamid Mir) is also justified in telling that in Naya Pakistan, there is no freedom of expression.”
آصف علی زرداری کے ساتھ حامد میر صاحب کا انٹرویو رکوانا شرمناک اورقابل مذمت ہے۔ میر صاحب یہ سوال اٹھانے میں حق بجانب ہیں کہ اگر احسان اللہ احسان کا انٹرویو چل سکتا ہے تو سابق صدر کا کیوں نہیں؟ ان کی یہ رائے بھی بجا ہے کہ نئے پاکستان میں رائے کے اظہار کی آزادی نہیں۔ https://t.co/Sdedr13vtq
— Saleem Safi (@SaleemKhanSafi) July 1, 2019
Hamid Mir also tweeted that his interview on Dawn television’s ZaraHatKay was not allowed as the programme host were under pressure not to interview him.
I was sitting in front of a Dawn News camera for 11 o clock show and then I received a call that @ZaraHatKay_Dawn team is under pressure not to interview me on Asif Ali Zardari issue they said sorry I said thank you somebody running and controlling Pakistan on telephone calls https://t.co/pGSH0n3pJA
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) July 1, 2019
Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in a tweet that “the selected government wanted selected voiced and President Zardar’s interview with Hamid Mir censored.”
Selected government only wants to hear selected voices. President Zardari’s interview with @HamidMirPAK censored. Pulled from air when it had already started. No difference in Zias Pakistan, Musharrafs Pakistan & NayaPakistan. This is no longer the free country Quaid promised us.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) July 1, 2019
Meanwhile, Pakistan Today without disclosing the name of the source reported that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority distanced itself from taking the interview off the air.
Pakistani media has been facing unannounced censorship as journalists are forced to operate in an increasingly hostile environment with pressure on media houses to obey the orders and narratives spun by state institutions. In recent months, dissenting voices have been purged from the media landscape with several journalists being fired for not toeing the line. Several newspapers including the leading Dawn newspaper has faced sales restrictions and television broadcasts blocked. Journalists often bear the brunt if they dare to report beyond red-lines. A few journalists and editors have resisted the official and unofficial curbs in the name of “national security interest.