Punishing Geo -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Punishing Geo

The latest order by the Sindh High Court preventing cable operators from blocking Geo and changing the positions of channels is yet another manifestation of Jang Group’s/Geo’s lawful position in a dispute that exists because the authorities, it appears, will stop at nothing to damage a media group that has published and broadcast volumes of stories over the past few years exposing corruption and all kinds of other misdeeds committed by those in power.

The leverage that is being used against Geo TV is the Cricket World Cup. The fact that tens of thousands of viewers are also being punished appears to have no impact on official action. Indeed, things have seemed to be moving from bad to worse with cable operators on strike to protest PEMRA raids on the offices of some cable networks following Geo complaints about the illegal transmission of games — even though quite a few of the operators disowned the strike. The strike will deprive Geo of a huge amount of revenue and allow it to accrue to the official channel PTV. As channels vanish from air, viewers will have been left attempting to tune into PTV using the ancient aerials on their roofs or else access cricket action over the internet. The vengeance of the government seems to know no bounds. As we have seen before, fury over the editorial policy of the Jang Group is leading to all kinds of means being employed to punish it. Sports programming has been seen as the key means of doing this at present. In the tough economic environment of today the blow may prove hard. The idea, it seems, is to cripple Geo and leave it unable to function as a major news and entertainment channel. Geo had, of course, already turned to the courts. It had won its case there. But as we have seen before, the authorities are clearly unwilling to comply with what the judiciary has to say.

The most underhand methods have been used to drive a few nails into Geo’s body. But today the channel has grown beyond its childhood years. It possesses the strength to rise against such abuse. What is more, it also possesses the capacity to bring the people in their masses over to its side so that they can stand together against those who suppress them. We have seen this happen before. There is every reason to believe that this time too, despite the methods used against Geo, it will win any battle that unfolds. It is encouraging to note that some political heavyweights, including Altaf Hussain, have urged the president, and the government, to take swift action in order to redress this grievance. People everywhere are willing to join forces and ensure that injustice is not permitted and that the vibrant displays from the World Cup and other events continue to reach their living rooms.
Source: The News
Date:3/20/2011