Sindh TV transmission suspended
KARACHI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is understood to have suspended the transmission of a Sindh-based TV channel for unknown reasons. The orders were received by cable operators of Karachi who claimed that they had been ordered to take the channel off air. Sindh TV has been airing documentaries and programmes with a special focus on the chaos in Balochistan and issues related to rural Sindh.
While the chairman of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan declined to issue any comment, sources requesting anonymity said a notice had been issued. Sindh TV owner and CEO Dr Karim Rajpar told Daily Times that they received a verbal order on Wednesday and when they contacted PEMRA they were told that the channel was banned under government directives. Sindh TV Director News Razzak Surai claimed that his channel has been taken off air for unknown reasons. “PEMRA issued an order on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 pm,” he said. “We were not issued a notice or warning and when we tried to get in touch with them, their offices had already closed for the day. We couldn’t do anything today (Thursday) since it was a national holiday.” Surai said that his management was looking into the possibility of whether they had violated some PEMRA law which might have led to the suspension.
Surai said the channel contacted Federal Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani but he was unaware of the decision. Surai said that the decision could have been based on their coverage of some events in Balochistan and Sindh. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) issued a press statement Thursday condemning the “forced suspension” of the channel allegedly on the order of high officials, following a news film related to the murder of a policeman and his alleged links with an ex-MNA close to the ruling party.
The PFUJ’s Mazhar Abbas said that Sindh TV journalists have been working under stress after they received threats and a few days back its Dadu correspondent Pervaiz Narejo moved to Karachi with his family following his reporting and filming of the murder of a policeman after the attack on Dadu District jail. Meanwhile, late in the evening on Thursday several viewers confirmed that they were able to watch the channel. “We have been taken off air but there are areas where the public pushes their cable operators to air the channel,” Rajpar said.
Sources within COAP claimed, however, that they had received a phone call from Rajpar, “who asked us to put his channel back on. We went ahead because today is a public holiday. If we get a call from PEMRA tomorrow, asking us to suspend its transmission we will take Sindh TV off again.”
Source: Daily Times