New Pakistan Government Censors TV (Updated: Not the Government)

Although it was one of the things the Pakistan People’s Party campaigned upon they have now demonstrated that they are only against Musharraf’s Censorship. When it comes to PPP, censorship is just fine.

In a ridiculous move the government has moved against GEO TV and Ary One World TV after they showed footage of PPP activists stopping an opposition member from swearing in by beating him. 

SEE Update regarding this strikeout below.

See this updated story at Dawn.

KARACHI, April 7: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman has asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to investigate how transmissions of two major satellite television networks were suspended on Monday.

All channels of the Geo and ARY networks, including their news channels, were off air for over two hours on Monday evening in Karachi and other major cities of Sindh.

Ms Rehman made it clear that the government had nothing to do with the suspension. However, she said, a certain political party was reported to be behind the blackout.

An official of the All Pakistan Cable Operators Association cited ‘technical problems’ for the suspension of transmission. “The transmission of Geo and ARY was restored after two hours. It was because of some technical problems. We are trying to determine the exact reason,” said Khalid Arain, vice-chairman of the association

Apparently the government was not at fault, however someone shut down cable feeds to Karachi for two stations for two hours, likely they were party activists. Having seen other incidents similar to this in the past in Karachi it’s predictable that both parties (MQM and PPP) will make accusations against the other and demand investigations from Pemra.

It’s likely that the investigation will reveal nothing but more confusion, I will leave it to the readers as to who had the most motive to shut off the televsion stations in Karachi.

It’s also  evident that the emnity between the two parties carries on past the re-dawning of democracy in Pakistan. That’s a shame as there are many more important things for both parties to focus on than the personal vendettas of the past.

 There are terror armies in the frontiers of Pakistan, there are people who can’t afford to eat, there’s commerce to consider, and the future of the constitution. They must put the past aside and focus on the future.

One other note on this — Sherry Rehman is with the PPP party, and prior to them taking power with the lead of the current government coalition she was one of their more active leaders in Karachi.

UPDATE: The violence against MQM continues, driving them from the coalition to opposition benches.

—————-

Previously:

Below us the story I based my original post on from Adnikronos International, needless to say I will second source stories from AKI before running with them in the future.

More from AKI:

Karachi, 7 April (AKI – By Syed Saleem Shahzad) – Pakistan’s newly elected coalition government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party made freedom of the media a major issue when it took two TV news channels off the air.

The channels, ARY One World TV and GEO TV, confirmed they had been taken off air after showing footage of the beating of former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim by Pakistan Peoples Party workers in the provincial legislature assembly.

The officials of the both channels confirmed that their networks were off air throughout the country after airing the footage of the former chief minister and the newly elected member of the provincial assembly, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, by the PPP workers.

He was dragged and beaten on Saturday when he entered in the provincial assembly to take oath. Sources said his life was saved only when he sought refuge insidet the parliament and was sent home under the police protection without taking the oath.

This morning he tried again to take his oath of office but the Pakistan Peoples Party workers, who had overwhelmed security arrangements at the provincial assembly, grabbed him and beaten him with shoes.

UPDATE 4/8/ 06:25: I have a commenter who says they are the director of ARY One with a correction of the assumption I made from the AKI story :

your story is not bassed on factual position. Our TV channels was not closed down for showing ex chief minister footage. pl do clarify that this was not govertnment action against TV Channels. — Mohsin Raza Director News ARY

Unfortunately he didn’t clarify what caused the closure, and neither does the AKI story. I’m in all day meetings today so I will have to let this hang unfortunately until I can research it some more. If someone does know precisely why the two stations went off the air please do drop a comment to save me some digging.

8 Replies to “New Pakistan Government Censors TV (Updated: Not the Government)”

  1. your story is not bassed on factual position. Our TV channels was not closed down for showing ex chief minister footage. pl do clarify that this was not govertnment action against TV Channels.

  2. I strongly protest over the news Pakistan: New government axes TV Channels carried by AKI Today from Karachi dateline. We have not confirmed that ARY One World off aired after showing footage of former Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim by Pakistan Peoples Party workers in the provincial legislature assembly.
    Our channel was not off aired throughout country. It was aired only in Karachi and some pars of Sindh province.
    We strongly protest that something that was not given by us attributed with us that government off aired these channels .That is not the truth. Government came for rescue.
    Information Minister Sherry Rehman also gave per version on all TV Channels.
    The actual story was published by Pakistan largest circulated English daily Dawn that is being reproduced here for your information.

    Pemra asked to probe TV channel blackout

    By Our Staff Reporter

    KARACHI, April 7: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman has asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to investigate how transmissions of two major satellite television networks were suspended on Monday.

    All channels of the Geo and ARY networks, including their news channels, were off air for over two hours on Monday evening in Karachi and other major cities of Sindh.

    Ms Rehman made it clear that the government had nothing to do with the suspension. However, she said, a certain political party was reported to be behind the blackout.

    An official of the All Pakistan Cable Operators Association cited ‘technical problems’ for the suspension of transmission. “The transmission of Geo and ARY was restored after two hours. It was because of some technical problems. We are trying to determine the exact reason,” said Khalid Arain, vice-chairman of the association.

    However, sources told Dawn that a political party had forced cable operators to keep the two networks off the air after their news channels reportedly showed footage of the manhandling of former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim in Sindh assembly premises.

    Meanwhile, MQM leader Saleem Shahzad told Geo television from London that the PPP leaders ‘were intoxicated with power’.

    Reacting to Monday’s incident in the Sindh assembly, he warned that if the PPP had managed to get a few hundred of its workers in the provincial assembly, the MQM could bring thousands of its workers there. “News channels, which condemned the May 12 incident for days without break, did not cover this incident,” he said while referring to the attack on the former CM.

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/04/08/top7.htm

  3. I strongly protest over the news Pakistan: New government axes TV Channels carried by AKI Today from Karachi dateline. We have not confirmed that ARY One World off aired after showing footage of former Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim by Pakistan Peoples Party workers in the provincial legislature assembly.
    Our channel was not off aired throughout country. It was aired only in Karachi and some pars of Sindh province.
    We strongly protest that something that was not given by us attributed with us that government off aired these channels .That is not the truth. Government came for rescue.
    Information Minister Sherry Rehman also gave per version on all TV Channels.
    The actual story was published by Pakistan largest circulated English daily Dawn that is being reproduced here for your information.

    Pemra asked to probe TV channel blackout

    By Our Staff Reporter

    KARACHI, April 7: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman has asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to investigate how transmissions of two major satellite television networks were suspended on Monday.

    All channels of the Geo and ARY networks, including their news channels, were off air for over two hours on Monday evening in Karachi and other major cities of Sindh.

    Ms Rehman made it clear that the government had nothing to do with the suspension. However, she said, a certain political party was reported to be behind the blackout.

    An official of the All Pakistan Cable Operators Association cited ‘technical problems’ for the suspension of transmission. “The transmission of Geo and ARY was restored after two hours. It was because of some technical problems. We are trying to determine the exact reason,” said Khalid Arain, vice-chairman of the association.

    However, sources told Dawn that a political party had forced cable operators to keep the two networks off the air after their news channels reportedly showed footage of the manhandling of former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim in Sindh assembly premises.

    Meanwhile, MQM leader Saleem Shahzad told Geo television from London that the PPP leaders ‘were intoxicated with power’.

    Reacting to Monday’s incident in the Sindh assembly, he warned that if the PPP had managed to get a few hundred of its workers in the provincial assembly, the MQM could bring thousands of its workers there. “News channels, which condemned the May 12 incident for days without break, did not cover this incident,” he said while referring to the attack on the former CM.

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/04/08/top7.htm

  4. Unfortunately Your correspondent did not bothered to dig out the cause of the closure of both TV Channels. for actual situation you may check today story on this on Pkaistan leading English daily Dawn. Information minister statement is also quoted by Daily Dawn .

  5. Everyone knows that Karachi facsit group MQM behind this closure and after prompt action by the government they withdrew and both channels opened after two hours. But i am unable to understand why Mr Saleem Shahzad put all blame on new democratic government despite the fact that they were not involved in the closure of these channels but they took immediate action against the undemocratic forces who were responsible. Director News ARY One World should have given the reason for the closure of their channel but Mr Salim Shahzad found in irresponsible journalism just to tarnish the image of newly elected government. sad on Saleem Shahzad and sad of AKI

  6. Ahh Ok, so this is the usual factional dispute between PPP and MQM — I might never get to the bottom of it then since both sides spin things to a great degree!

    I will research tonight and get the facts as correct as I can, thanks for the correction if it is warranted, and please do not get in a fight in my comments as I’ve seen PPP and MQM do in many other forums, I would appreciate it friends.

  7. Thanks all for the updates, and I have corrected the story above with the facts I was able to garner. This does make me doubt the veracity of AKI, and I will second source their stories as I do for the Asia Times in the future.

Comments are closed.