RSF condemns persecution of Geo
PARIS: The respected worldwide defender of press freedoms, Reporters Without Borders has strongly condemned the ban imposed by the PPP government on Geo Super.
In a statement RSF said: “The operations of the opposition Geo TV Network’s profitable sports channel, Geo Super, have been suspended in Pakistan on the orders of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), which regulates TV stations, cable operators, Internet and mobile phones, and is responsible for developing access to information. “We are worried about the government’s growing harassment of certain media, especially those owned by the opposition Jang Group, which include Geo TV,” said the statement. “We condemn any action designed to throttle this network by gradually stripping it of its main sources of income, and we urge the Pemra to limit itself to its primary job of controlling licences rather than becoming a government censorship tool.”
Geo News, which is also part of the Geo TV network, has accused the Pemra of blocking Geo Super’s operations as part of a continuing campaign to harass news media critical of the government. The sports channel is a key source of revenue for the network.
At a news conference Thursday, Pemra’s acting chairman, Abdul Jabbar, blamed the fact that Geo Super has its headquarters in nearby Dubai. He said Geo Super was registered as an international channel, not a national channel, and therefore “does not have rights to transmit from Pakistan.” Geo Super also “does not have the right to cover any event in Pakistan,” he added.
Geo News has often been the target of government harassment and intimidation in the past because of its critical stance, the RSF statement said.
Source: The News