A group of Jang/Geo Group journalists violently disrupted the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (COAP)’s press conference in Karachi on Friday.
As soon as COAP President Khalid Araeen started the press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC), a reporter levelled allegations against COAP for suspending the transmission of Geo TV across Pakistan.
The argument, which started with an exchange of allegations, took a turn for the worst at the very outset of the press briefing.
According to an eyewitness, “The wild brawl that ensued left the KPC press conference room in an utter mess.”
Shattered windowpanes, broken furniture, mangled electronic equipment, torn curtains, and other destroyed property of the KPC spoke volumes about the commotion it saw in a short time.
After wreaking mayhem, which analysts say was premeditated, the Jang/Geo Group staffers succeeded in sending the cable operators packing.
Araeen condemned Jang/Geo Group reporters’ sabotage of the press conference.
“We were manhandled, threatened and cursed by the Jang Group journalists,” he said.
Answering a question, Araeen said that COAP was not expecting such hooliganism from the so-called educated journalists representing Pakistan’s largest media group.
“It was absolutely shocking. They just pounced on us like hungry wolves. We were accused of depriving Jang/Geo employees of their livelihood,” he said.
Speaking outside the press club, Araeen alleged that the media group had sent around 18 reporters for the purpose of causing trouble in the press conference. He said the cable operators were subjected to verbal as well as physical abuse by Jang Group reporters, adding that the media group has abused media freedom.
FATE OF GEO’S TRANSMISSION:
When asked whether Geo TV’s transmission will be shut down, he said, “It’s nothing personal; however, we believe in the recently issued ‘fatwa’ (religious edict), according to which watching Geo TV is a sin.”
He said that cable operators would not propagate anything that was against Islam.
Karachi Union of Journalists President GM Jamali, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Rana Azeem and other media groups strongly condemned the event.
The PFUJ has announced that it would suspend the membership of the media group whose reporters were involved in the incident.