Leading Pakistani Geo TV channel is ordered off air

Geo TV staff have staged regular rallies against what they call the authorities' heavy-handed treatment

Geo TV staff have staged regular rallies against what they call the authorities’ heavy-handed treatment

Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regularity Authority has suspended the licence of the country’s largest and most influential TV station for 15 days.

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Since April, the Geo TV channel has been embroiled in a defamation row with the powerful ISI intelligence agency.

The ISI says the channel has unfairly linked the agency to an attack on a Geo talk show host in Karachi.

But officials from Geo, Pakistan’s most watched news channel, have described the licence suspension as unfair.

Supporters of the channel say the suspension is a dark day for media freedom in Pakistan.

Correspondents note that the allegations against the intelligence agency are unusual because few dare upset the ISI – long regarded as one of the most powerful institutions in the country.

Off air

Geo TV in the news

  • Began broadcasting in 2002, owned by the Independent Media Corporation
  • Is Pakistan’s most-watched television channel
  • Has the country’s largest newsgathering network
  • Has frequently clashed with the authorities
  • Angered the ISI with its coverage of the shooting of Hamid Mir in April
  • Caused further ire by broadcasting a dance routine denounced as blasphemous

In a statement, the Pakistani Electronic Media Regularity Authority (Pemra) said that they had made the decision following a complaint against Geo TV filed by the defence ministry.

Pemra said it “took a strong notice of violations committed” by the channel and “unanimously decided” immediately to suspend its licence in addition to imposing a 10m Pakistani rupees ($100,000) fine.

It added that if the fine was not paid before the end of the suspension period, the channel would remain off air.

The regulators also warned that if there were more violations, “proceedings for the revocation of [Geo’s] licence shall be initiated”.

Additional Reading

Freedom of Speech: A Core Islamic Value!

Categories: Free speach, Free Speech, Freedom, Journalism

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1 reply

  1. I believe what European Union has claimed for herself, should be allowed to each country or religion, in terms of restrictions of speech, until we can have truly a global village and then we will need a universal understanding of these issues.

    We also need to realize that devil is in the detail and how these rules are implemented, would truly determine the fate of societies.

    European Convention of Human Rights
    I think many of the exceptions for freedom of speech are tackled in the Article 10 of European Convention of Human Rights.
    This Article provides the right to freedom of expression, subject to certain restrictions that are “in accordance with law” and “necessary in a democratic society”. This right includes the freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart information and ideas, but allows restrictions for:

    interests of national security
    territorial integrity or public safety
    prevention of disorder or crime
    protection of health or morals
    protection of the reputation or the rights of others
    preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence
    maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary

    We would certainly need the best legal minds humanity can offer to give concrete and legalistic details of the above exceptions that may be acceptable to people of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities.

    If the Supreme Court Justices do not come to our rescue, may be a good and an accomplished writer can help out with a best selling book. But, the key is to at least, win the moderates, in all the established religions of the world and among the agnostics and atheists.

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