Pakistan's largest TV network taken off air

World

07 Apr 2018

Pakistan's largest TV network taken off-air, military's role suspected

The incessant struggle between Pakistan's civilian and military institutions has now culminated in Geo TV, Pakistan's largest television network, being taken off air in most parts of the country.

While the person/institution behind this black out isn't known yet, Geo TV was taken off the air reportedly for airing programmes which were critical towards Pakistan's military establishment.

Here's what we know so far.

Blackout

How the blackout slowly engulfed Geo network

How the blackout slowly engulfed Geo network

The blackout began in the first week of March and slowly grew in scale.

At the start of March, Geo News went off the air in cantonment areas and adjacent residential areas.

By the start of April, all Geo channels - including news, entertainment, and sports - were being blocked by cable operators.

Currently, Geo network isn't available in 80% of Pakistan.

Committee to Protect Journalists harshly criticizes the blackout

"The arbitrary suspension of Geo TV on cable TV is a direct assault on Pakistan's constitutionally guaranteed right to access information," said Steven Butler, the Asia programme coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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Details

Who is behind the blackout?

Without revealing who was behind the blackout, Pakistan Home Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that neither the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), nor the Ministry of Information were behind it.

According to PEMRA, it had also issued notices to cable operators asking them not to disrupt transmissions by Geo TV.

Mir Ibrahim Rahman, the CEO of Geo TV, also refused to point fingers.

Why?

Why the army's intervention in the blackout is suspected

Why the army's intervention in the blackout is suspected

It's understood that Geo networks' recent actions have upset Pakistan's powerful military establishment.

Geo network had critically covered Pakistan's placement on a terror financing watch-list earlier this year.

More recently, Geo network's criticism of Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his domestic and foreign policy preferences is also believed to have sparked outrage among powerful generals.

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Pakistan

Ahsan Iqbal

CEO

Committee to Protect Journalists

General Qamar Javed Bajwa

Geo News

Geo TV

Ministry of Information

Mir Ibrahim Rahman

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority

Pakistan Home Minister Ahsan Iqbal

PEMRA

Protect Journalists

Qamar Javed Bajwa

Steven Butler

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