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Pak govt suspends telecast of Geo, Aaj TV Team

(4 June 2007 6:51 pm)


MUMBAI: The Pakistan government has suspended the transmission of two private television channels - Geo TV and Aaj TV in major parts of the country including cities like Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore on Sunday, because of their alleged 'anti-government' programmes.

Channel authorities say that the government has forced cable operators into suspending their transmissions. The ostensible reason is believed to be Geo's failure to give prizes to cables operators as promised, but Sunday's blackout coincided with the airing of a show containing anti-government references - Meray Mutabiq.

The government has already publicised plans to curb live coverage of outdoor events indicating unhappiness over live TV coverage of suspended chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhary's anti-government agitation.

Aaj TV news controller Masoom Osmani told Daily Times that a "technical fault" could be responsible for the interruption, adding he was contacting the government to confirm the actual situation.

He cited a possible government attempt to block the private media's coverage of the judicial crisis, saying a Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) notice had instructed them to stop airing live debates and shows.

Meanwhile, Cable Operators Association of Pakistan chairman Khalid Sheikh said the organisation would not allow any transmission of coverage against the military and judiciary. He said benches would be established to monitor the channels' transmissions.

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