Pakistan’s media regulator, PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory) has pulled up Geo News for broadcasting “unipolarity of views in its news bulletins and programmes” and discussing “under investigation/ trial matters which is barred under PEMRA laws”.
The news follows the arrest by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Geo Media Group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Thursday.
PEMRA has issued Geo News a show-cause notice and it will now need to attend a hearing on Friday 20th March at 11:00.
The notice said, “The licensee is also directed to appear for personal hearing on March 20, 2020 at 1100 Hrs. through its C.E.O. in person or through authorized representative before this Authority.”
Reports say that despite the week notice for the hearing, PEMRA has issued directives to cable operators to shutdown Geo News in various cities across Pakistan and re-position the channel to the end of EPG on cable platforms.
Geo News’ broadcast was disrupted after Dr Firdous’ presser on Friday. Geo News Director News Rana Jawad said, “Cable operators are being asked to change Geo’s position [on TV channel numbers]. Shifting the channel to the last numbers means shutting down its broadcast.”
He added, “This is being done at a time when the Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Group/Geo has been arrested by NAB,” he had said. “This [censorship] is a manifestation of the conspiracy to shut down, silence and end media.”
Jawad said that the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and the channel’s censorship is linked to silence the country’s largest media group.