Transmission of two Pakistani channels stopped in Karachi

November 17th, 2008 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez MusharrafIslamabad, Nov 17 (IANS) The transmission of two leading Pakistani news channels was stopped Monday in Karachi and several other cities of Sindh province but no government department has taken responsibility for the closure.The spokespersons for GEO and ARY channels said that all cable operators in Karachi and several other cities of the Sindh province stopped their transmissions.

“GEO transmission has been stopped on cable in a number of cities across Sindh including Karachi,” the GEO website announced while condemning the closure. ARY channel spokesman gave a similar statement.

Abdul Haq, a cable operator in Karachi told IANS that an official from Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) called their office asking to stop GEO transmission. “After ten minutes he called again and asked to block ARY as well,” he told IANS adding they were not told a reason by PEMRA for blocking the transmission.

When former military dictator president Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency Nov 3, 2007, he also blocked all television channels for almost two months.

When called, the PEMRA spokesman refused to comment on the situation saying he wasn’t aware of any ban on any television. However, journalists working in GEO and ARY channels said that it was ordered by the provincial office of PEMRA in Sindh.

Pakistan Federation of Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the ban saying “Nothing has changed after Musharraf left the government.” The union president Syed Huma Ali Shah said that this is very strange that the elected government has taken such a step.

“We demand immediate lifting of the ban, otherwise journalists will be forced to rally against the government,” Shah told IANS.

A GEO announcement said that cable operators blocked the transmission of Geo Network in a number of areas across the city Monday morning, without assigning any reason for the stoppage.

“Similar reports of stoppage of Geo’s channels are being received from different parts of Sindh including Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur,” the announcement said.

The ARY website quoted Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani saying that the recent shutdown of ARY OneWorld is the fallout of the policies pursued by the previous government, adding imposition of any ban on media does not constitute the government policy.

Talking to media, he assured that he would review the state of the affairs as soon as he arrives in Islamabad.

“The prime minister condemned the blocking of ARY OneWorld transmission. The PM said he has directed PEMRA to look into the matter and report immediately,” the web site said.

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