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Journalists, rights bodies condemn the suspension of anchor Hamid Mir

Journalist bodies and human rights organisations on Monday condemned the move to take veteran journalist and TV show host Hamid Mir “off air”.

“Forcing a popular news talk show host like Hamid Mir off the air after voicing criticism of Pakistan’s military—and support for a fellow journalist—only underscores the lack of true press freedom in Pakistan,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

“Critical comments about key state institutions are an important component of democracy, not a scourge to be eliminated.”,he added.

Mir told BBC Urdu he had been informed by the Geo News management that he would “not go on air on Monday” to host his five-days-a-week show Capital Talk.

He was speaking at a protest against the recent attack on journalist and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor.

“The management asked me to either explain or refute the speech outside the [National] Press Club,” Mir told BBC Urdu, adding that he asked in return “Who is asking you for this?”

“I told them if they arrest the persons who attacked Asad Toor then I am ready to apologise, let alone issue an explanation,” the journalist said.

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