A month after the offices of Pakistan۪s leading private television channel Geo were ransacked by the law enforcement agencies, the second largest television channel, Aaj, faces suspension of its transmissions for its ‘irresponsible coverage’ of the proceedings of the presidential reference against the suspended chief justice of the Supreme Court.
However, the management of the Aaj television says that the channel was being targeted by the information ministry for defying the government attempts to influence its reporting of the ongoing judicial crisis, which has created a plethora of troubles for General Musharraf.
According to Arshad Zuberi, the managing director of Aaj Television, the management has been served with a legal notice asking it to explain why it had not sought government permission to uplink its signals from the country. The notice accuses the channel of inciting violence by casting the armed forces in an unfavourable light. The channel has been given three days to reply or face the consequences. He made it clear that Aaj won۪t take the chief justice case off air, as desired by the government. “The judicial crisis was not created by television channels but by the government and it will have to tackle it now”, Zuberi said.
The channel is owned by the Zuberi family, which also operate the Business Recorder, Pakistan۪s oldest and most respected financial newspaper. According to Zuberi, the suspension of the chief justice and the subsequent crisis has literally paralysed the government which has resorted to underhand tactics to silence the fourth pillar of the state.