Experts worried over media gagging in Pakistan

November 14th, 2007 - 8:26 am ICT by admin  
The government blocked the transmission of private TV channels shortly before the state of emergency was announced, forcing them to use the means of Internet to express their views and reports on the latest political developments in the country.

However, experts feel that the gagging has been propelled by the media itself. They feel that it is an outcome of the Musharraf bashing and the reports which were sometimes perceived as anti-government.

Cable operator in the country said that they received orders from government officials to switch off all television channels before 6 p.m.

Reacting to this, Internews’ country director Adnan Rehmat said that fundamental rights are suspended in the state of emergency, but the right to information is the key right and should not be suspended.

Media reports quoted him, as saying: “This is a huge backward step… right now only one TV channel is giving news and that is the state-run Pakistan Television, which gives very limited information.”

The media order imposed by Musharraf earlier gave the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) the power to confiscate equipment belonging to violators and to seize their premises for 30 days.

It says there is a maximum punishment of three years in jail or a fine of 10 million rupees (166,700 dollars) for anyone who breaches the code. (ANI with inputs)

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