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Hamid Mir apologizes after a fiery speech at PFUJ

Hamid Mir has offered apology over his recent speech at a protest against attacks on journalists and said he had no intention to defame Pakistan Army.

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Hamid Mir, a senior Pakistani journalist, has offered apology over his recent speech at a protest against attacks on journalists and said he had no intention to defame Pakistan Army. In his fiery speech, Mr. Mir had made some controversial statements which seem to have forced him to apologize.

A joint statement issued by a committee formed by the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), the National Press Club and Mr Mir on Tuesday said Mr Mir briefed it about his speech at a protest demonstration on May 28. He said he had no intention to defame the army, had high regard for the sacrifices rendered by it and had covered army operations from Siachen to the LoC.

Mr Mir said he made a speech during a protest outside the NPC against attacks on journalists. He said he got carried away after spee­ches by other speakers as he too had faced an attack in the past.

Mr Mir offered an apology if his speech hurt the feelings of any person. He said he had no differences with the army nor did he name any person.

After Mr Mir’s speech the Geo TV management had decided to take him off air.

Later on June 4, the committee comprising former PFUJ president Afzal Butt, RIUJ president Amir Sajjad Syed and NPC president Shakeel Anjum was formed to seek an end to the confusion created after the speech.

Dawn contacted Mr. Mir for his comment. He said that the explanatory statement before an elected body of journalists. He said the Geo TV management had also sought an explanation from him, but he did not respond as he had made his speech from PFUJ platform and not Geo.

Pakistan has freest media, says Information Minister

Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, has refused to accept that Pakistan has failed to protect its journalists. The minister maintained that journalists are given protection in the country and they enjoy freedom to express their opinions.

During an interview with Stephen Sackur for BBC programme “HARDTalk”, which was released on Friday, the minister, who was even termed as “one of the government’s most robust defender”, gave his utmost to negate the impression that journalists are at any more risk in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world.

When asked by Sackur if he agrees that the cornerstone of any democracy is the protection of freedom of expression and independent journalism, Chaudhry quoted Article 19 of the Constitution that guarantees such protection.

When further pressed to respond to incidences occuring “day after day, month after month” that stand in stark contrast to such freedoms, and that the government is not protecting journalists and freedom of speech, the information minister said he will “obviously contest the claim”.

Read more: Freedom of Speech: PTI government intends to control digital media?

“Pakistan is probably one of the freest state[s] as far as media is concerned. We have about 43 international media channels, including BBC, here in Pakistan, we have 112 private channels, 258 FM channels, and 1,569 print publications.

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