Pakistan’s Geo News television channel has reportedly been blocked for equating ‘Kashmir’ with ‘Balochistan’.
Access to the television channel was blocked in Karachi last night by moving it to the last numbers, which made it totally inaccessible in many areas.
This is the second time that Geo News is being penalised for voicing its freedom of speech. In April 2014, Geo News was completely shut down and fined Rs. 20 million for airing blasphemous content and ridiculing the judiciary.
A channel spokesperson said that if the curbs imposed on media freedom were not lifted by today, the group would not only move the court with full force, but will also strongly raise the issue on the streets, and sensitize local and international forums. He was quoted as saying, “We would be compelled to reveal the entire situation and incidents, with all proof. All demands being made to us and the conditions being imposed to pressure us would also be made public which would expose the affiliations of many so-called respected notables.”
He added that Karachi is just a small part of this continuous situation that the media channel has been facing in some secure and sensitive areas where it is practically blocked completely. He also repeated the demand for the formation of an independent commission to investigate all affairs, including the false allegations and the ban on Geo News.
The spokesman alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is responsible for this as he is the chief executive and head of all national institutions. Reacting to the complaint received from the channel, the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has sought the assistance of the Federal Government and local law enforcement agencies to act against those cable operators who have resorted to illegal disruption of Geo News in Karachi.
According to a press release issued by PEMRA on Saturday, Chairman Absar Alam has invoked Section 33-A of PEMRA Ordinance 2002, seeking “immediate assistance from Federal Government to take action against PEMRA law violators in Karachi”.
PEMRA said it has also ordered 11 cable operators, namely Home Vision, City/GIA, New DIGI, Tracks, KCS, Global Cable, Karachi Cable, Skyline, Show Time, Universal Production, and Sky Multi Services, to immediately restore Geo News at the position at which it was being relayed on 28th July.