Channel suspended on interior ministry orders: Brig Shakeel -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Channel suspended on interior ministry orders: Brig Shakeel

KARACHI: The forced suspension of the transmission of the private Sindh TV was ordered by the federal interior ministry, an official told Daily Times Friday.Head of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Cable Television (CTV) Policy Making, Brigadier Zahid Shakeel Ahmed said that Sindh TV’s permission to telecast programmes was taken back on a request received from the federal ministry. “It is an issue pertaining to security clearance. We received a call from the interior ministry asking us to shut their transmission because they had violated the clearance,” Ahmed told Daily Times.

He said that the channel would remain off air until orders from the same department giving it security clearance. “We will give them clearance and allow them to come back on air as soon as we have clearance from the (interior) ministry,” he said. Sindh TV’s telecasting rights were revoked on Thursday afternoon. Director News Razzak Sirohi said that they were waiting for Friday to tackle the matter as public offices were closed. Also, PEMRA ordered it to be taken off air after it had packed up business for the day, Sirohi had claimed on Thursday.

The chairman of the cable operators association, Khalid Arian, while declining to discuss the issue in depth, commented that he and the association’s members were only following orders. “We took Sindh TV off air after PEMRA asked us to close the channel,” Arian said, adding that it was being aired in Sindh and Rawalpindi and Islamabad.However, while the authorities and cable operators continue to claim that Sindh TV is off air, several viewers have said that they were able to view the channel at home.

Dr Karim Rajpar, owner of Sindh TV, said the cable operators were running the channel on their own. “I believe some of my friends are obliging me on their own,” he said. “It is, however, officially off air in Pakistan,” he added. Dr Rajpar also said that he was trying his best to get have the suspension orders lifted. “PEMRA has so far not given or issued us any notice informing us of their decision. I called PEMRA’s DG Enforcement Rana Altaf who was in London and Deputy General Manager for Sindh Manzoor Memon. Both said that they did not want to tell me of their decision, which was why they carried it out behind my back,” he said. Dr Rajpar also said that his channel’s policies could have offended somebody in the corridors of power. “Our policies do not … attack or endanger the national security interests of the country,” he said.

Source: Daily Times