Islamabad: Pakistan’s largest television network Geo, has said that it has been forced to go off air in most parts of the country, apparently on the orders of the military, “as it flexes its authority over civilian institutions”.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal clarified that the incumbent government did not order the suspension of the channel. Also, he did not explain why the channel faces a blackout across the country.
“If viewers/readers cannot watch Geo News on their TV screens or if our channels have somehow been shifted from their original numbers, or if they are deprived of receiving their copies of Daily Jang or/and The News, they can lodge complaints at telephone number: 021-32271133,” Geo TV has tweeted.
Chief executive of the network, Geo, Mir Ibrahim Rahman, said, “We are off the air in 80 percent of the country”, without pointing fingers at anyone, reported the New York Times.
Geo News was shut down in cantonment areas pan-Pakistan and military-administered residential neighborhoods in the first week of March.
However, this month, all Geo channels – including news, entertainment and sports channels – started being blocked across the country by cable operators.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, though, has said that it has not asked cable operators to stop broadcasting the channels.
According to the report, the network has earned the wrath of the Pakistan military over its critical news coverage on Islamabad being added to the terror financing list.
The Committee to Protect Journalists this week expressed concerns over the censorship of Geo network, the New York Times reports.
“The arbitrary suspension of Geo TV on cable TV is a direct assault on Pakistan’s constitutionally guaranteed right to access information,” Committee’s Asia program coordinator, Steven Butler, said, in a statement.