War of words between Anusha, journalists
Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Wednesday that journalists were part of her team irrespective of the fact whether they belonged to official or private media.
In a statement, the minister termed the incident outside the Supreme Court as unfortunate. The Minister said she was striving to settle the matter as early as possible though there were two stances on the incident but can be resolved amicably.
She said that Anusha Rehman was a responsible member of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet and he fully believes in freedom of expression and independence of media.
The Minister said that she had given the proposal to settle the matter by sitting together.
The Minister said that the government fully believes independence of media as an independent media was pre-requisite for true democracy.
Earlier a war of words broke out between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders and journalists outside the Supreme Court as media men lodged a protest against ‘harassment’ of their colleague at the hands of a state minister. Reporters threatened to boycott the coverage of government’s daily press briefing outside the apex court regarding the proceedings of the continuing Panama Papers case.
State Minister of Information Technology Anusha Rahman, sources said, snatched a mobile phone from a TV journalist who was reportedly recording a video inside the courtroom.
Rahman, reports suggested, ‘threatened’ journalist Azam Gill with 14 years in prison, saying she would ask the Federal Investigation Agency to book him under the Cyber Crime Act.
When the sloganeering increased, Railways Minister Khawaja Saeed Rafique tried to appease the protesting reporters by condemning the act of snatching the cellphone. He, however, said the laws do not allow anyone, including media, to take mobile phones in the courtroom.
Yet, the reporters were displeased and insisted Rahman to publicly apologise to the reporter. “Boycott until Anusha Rahman offers public apology,” they kept shouting.
At this moment, State Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb offered mediation, suggesting a separate meeting of journalists in her office but it was declined by the reporters. Rafique, ignoring the protest, tried to continue with his press talk but most channels took him off air.