Pakistan’s Premier Media Group in the Dock for ‘Anti-State Activism’

Date:

Geo-Jang-The-News

By Irshad Salim

RIYADH — A ban has been imposed on a private media group including its television channels at all offices of the Pakistan Army with immediate effect, a private News channel ‘ARY’ reported on Wednesday.

The channel reported that there will be a blanket ban on the newspapers of the Independent Media Corporation, which owns the Jang Group of Newspapers and the Geo TV network, at all army offices, mess and units.

The decision was taken in view of the propaganda hatched by the media group to malign the Pakistan Army and the prime intelligence agency of Pakistan, the report said.

Talking to journalists, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said that allegations against the Pakistan Army without any proof were extremely wrong. “Journalists are ideological protectors of Pakistan while army is body guards,” he added.

Interior Minister Ch. Nisar echoed similar sentiments and has taken strongest exceptions to the way the issue of murder attempt on Hamid Mir had been used as a spring board to malign National institutions without any conducive evidence in the show.He pointed out that there was no justification for allegations when the Government has already set up a Commission consisting of three Supreme Court senior Judges.

Pakistanis living in the Kingdom have appreciated Mr. Rafique & Nisar’s statements and consider Geo’s activism unfortunate and uncalled for.

On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry called for Geo’s shut down – one of the leading television stations in the country viewed by overseas Pakistanis also, — accusing it of broadcasting “false” and “scandalous” reports.

The ministry has filed a complaint against the channel with the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on its coverage of the assassination attempt on Geo anchor Hamid Mir. PEMRA is the regulatory body assigned to monitor broadcasts.

Mir was shot and wounded by assailants on motorcycles April 19 while he was traveling in a car in Karachi. No one has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

After the attack, Geo aired reports accusing Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its head, Director General Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam of being behind it. Geo TV also broadcast the image of General Islam as an accused. The airing of such reports was not well taken in the country as well in the Pakistani Diaspora here.

In the complaint filed with PEMRA, the defense ministry accuses GEO’s parent company, Independent Media Corporation of launching a “vicious campaign” that includes “false accusations” linking the intelligence agency with “terrorist outfits/activities.”

The ministry has asked PEMRA to cancel Independent Media Corporation’s license.

A PEMRA official, who did not want to be named, told VOA’s Urdu Service that the nature of the charges against Geo are serious but that the media outlet will be given full opportunity to offer an explanation.

Some analysts said Geo News can go off air if it fails to prove the accusations it leveled against the army and ISI, according to a local media report. — Mamosa Report

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