BBC Goes Off Air In Some Localities
KARACHI: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service transmission remained off air in different parts of the city on Thursday that cable operators said had nothing to do with any ‘policy decision’ before the international network aired a programme on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
A number of people from different areas called the Dawn office on Wednesday evening to ‘report’ the unannounced blackout and the trend continued till Thursday night.
Residents from Defence, Clifton, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Federal B. Area, Shah Faisal Colony, Malir and several other neighbourhoods complained that the transmission went off air.
“There is no policy decision by the association to switch off the BBC transmission,” said Khalid Arain of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan.
“It must be the respective cable operators’ own decision that has nothing to do with our association. In an area or two such as Nazimabad and North Nazimabad, the BBC has been off for the past two weeks due to some technical reasons but the latest development that you are referring to is not in our association’s knowledge,” Mr Arain explained.
The BBC in its programme ‘Newsnight’ aired an episode on the MQM that focused on recent developments over investigations into the murder of senior party leader Dr Imran Farooq, who was stabbed to death near his home in London in September 2010.
The programme was run by BBC2, a domestic UK channel, and not by BBC World watched in Pakistan.
Though the recording of the BBC programme went viral on the internet through social media websites, the cable operators told Dawn that it was not meant for Pakistani viewers.“The BBC World Service that is watched here has not aired that programme. Yet the BBC transmission has been switched off since Tuesday evening at least in our area of coverage,” said a cable worker in North Nazimabad but did not explain the reason behind the move.
People associated with the BBC here in Pakistan, however, said they were not aware of any such happening; neither did anyone approach them directly with that complaint.
“We are not aware of any such thing. No one approached us about any such complaint regarding Karachi,” Aamer Ahmed Khan, the head of BBC Urdu service, told Dawn.