International news channel Indus News is the second Pakistani media house in under two years to have closed down under real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain’s ownership. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemns the closure of Indus News by its management, putting hundreds of media workers under financial stress.
On September 14, Indus News employees were alerted to the media house’s temporary closure by an email from its management citing “unavoidable legal and technical issues”. The channel, owned by billionaire Malik Riaz Hussain, was launched in late 2018.
The email sent to Indus News staff guarantees all employees will resume work once the issues identified by management have been addressed. The email indicates the closure will last for a period of two months, within which staff will receive a “half month salary”.
In April 2020, another media outlet owned by Hussain, AAP News, ceased operations after Hussain owned the outlet for a year. AAP News’ administration informed employees by email that due to legal and technical issues, the Urdu broadcaster would close immediately, leaving hundreds of journalists and media workers jobless.
In 2016, Malik Riaz Hussain revealed his interest in media, particularly TV channels, as a means of protecting his reputation and advancing business ventures and is also is also reportedly tied to Pakistan military officials and senior politicians.
The PFUJ has announced it will stage country-wide protests on September 16 and urges PEMRA and other the relevant authorities to take necessary legal action against the Indus News management.
The PFUJ said: “Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has strongly condemned the closure of Indus News and termed it financial murder of the media workers.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is concerned by the pattern of job losses emerging from within the Pakistani media-sphere and the ongoing impact of closures on media worker’s livelihoods. The IFJ condemns the manipulation of media ownership for personal gain.”