Photo shows a man watching a television screen tuned to Geo News.—File Photo
Photo shows a man watching a television screen tuned to Geo News.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Tuesday disowned the decisions announced by its three members regarding cancellation of licences of three television channels owned by the Geo TV network.

In a press statement issued here, the media regulatory body referred to the media talks held by three private members – Israr Abbassi, Mian Shams and Fareeha Iftikhar – in front of Pamra headquarters earlier today.

The members of the committee had announced the suspension and also ordered that Geo TV offices be sealed down.

A spokesman for the regulatory body had also said in a statement that the meeting called today had no legal validity “since it was not called officially in spirit of Rule 3(4) of Pemra Rules 2009.”

According to the Pemra rules listed on its website, a meeting of the regulatory body can be convened on the request of at least one half of its total membership.


Also read: Should Geo be taken off-air?


The press release issued by Pemra said the majority of authority members in 95th meeting held on May 9 had decided to refer the case to the ministry of law for legal opinion.

“The decision of seeking opinion from the Law Division was taken in all fairness to avoid any future legal consequences in such a critical issue.”

The complaint against Geo Entertainment was already referred to the Council of Complaints (CoC) Sindh.

“The CoC in its meeting called on Tuesday had already recommended about the status of Geo's licence. The minutes of the CoC were awaited and the Authority would consider this matter in the next scheduled meeting,” the press release added.

The Pamra clarified that Tuesday's meeting was called without following the laid down procedures and thus had no legal standing.

According to Rule 3(4) of PEMRA Rules 2009, the Chairman or as the case may be more than half of the total members can call the meeting i.e. out of twelve members at least seven members can call a meeting.

This was an informal meeting attended by five members, said the regulatory body.

“The Executive Member was not even asked to officially convene the meeting and notify it through the Secretary to the Authority, which was the set procedure,” the release said.

The meeting convened by these members was without any official intimation or invitation to other members in accordance with the procedure, it added.

“The Authority's committee was functioning and was exercising the power of Chairman in day to day affairs and taking decisions with requisite quorum,” it said.


Press conference by private members of Pemra committee


Speaking at the press conference, private Pemra member Israr Abbasi, who attended the meeting, had said that one-third members were present today, which he claimed was enough to complete the quorum.

Abbasi said government members did not attend the meeting.

During their announcement, the members said that a final decision on the revocation of the licences will be announced following a meeting on May 28, which will also be attended by government representatives.

The committee formed by Pemra was tasked to review the Ministry of Defence's application filed against Geo TV network for leveling allegations against an intelligence agency of Pakistan.


Related: Ministry wants TV channel’s licence cancelled


"All members (present) today unanimously decided that the licence for Geo News be cancelled. However, due to a legal formality that could not be completed, we have sent our recommendations to the Council of Complaints, advising that they respond before May 28, the date for our next meeting," said Mian Shamsur Rehman, a member of the committee.

The suspension is to stay in effect until May 28, when another session of the committee will be called to decide on the final decision regarding cancellation of the licences, they said.

“On May 28 during our next meeting, we will give a final decision on (cancelling licences of) Geo News, Geo Tez and Geo Entertainment,” said Shamsur Rehman.

Abbasi said there were members representing the public and the provinces at the meeting which resulted in the suspension of Geo News, Geo Tez and Geo Entertainment.

Speaking to a private TV channel, Abbasi added that in the next meeting the legal process against Geo would be decided upon, and until then, the group’s licenses will remain suspended.

He said that there was no need to refer this decision to the law division as Pemra has been given the authority to take such a decision.


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Comments (133) Closed




hasan
May 20, 2014 08:33pm

Wow....This country is spiralling out of control over small issues like morning shows.our country is being held back because of this..we have more important and urgent issues that need to be resolved (electricity, our currency, food shortages, civil war) I'm fed up of this useless bickering and nonsense media. They need to work with each other not against

DisparateAamer
May 20, 2014 08:35pm

For now it's suspended. This appears to be just the beginning of a big mess where someone will lose big time and it doesn't appear to be Geo.

Umair
May 20, 2014 08:37pm

I think it is unfair to cancel the license of Geo Entertainment, that has got no involvement with the news section.

AHA
May 20, 2014 08:37pm

This is what we get when we zealously preach intolerance. This is now the destiny of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

A thinker
May 20, 2014 08:41pm

Though Geo will get back license overtime and continue operations but this action will set a nice precedent in the media industry and result in better enforcement of laws to make media more responsible. Its true that media houses turned kingmakers exist and must be broken down

Arsalan
May 20, 2014 08:44pm

All channels should get their acts together now.

Muhammad
May 20, 2014 08:44pm

We need responsible media not only free media (free of all ethics).

Thinker
May 20, 2014 08:45pm

So, this is what the freedom of speech meant in Pakistan!!!!!!!!

Mansoor Naqvi
May 20, 2014 08:45pm

This ban will not have its full affect. Geo operates from UAE where its owner currently hides. International audience would still be able to see its transmission.

Shakeel Ahmad Khan
May 20, 2014 08:46pm

This is a sad day for Pakistan. Did not know that Zia up Haq is alive! Freedom of expression is doomed. Everything that a common Pakistan does can be labeled as Blasphemy...

Ahmer Jamil Khan
May 20, 2014 08:49pm

This is a really shameful act on behalf of PEMRA. PEMRA was created with the objective of improving choices for the Pakistani viewers and not for shutting down the nation's most watched TV channel. This Act is not just shameful, but also against the virtue of the Act that created PEMRA. Syed Ismail Shah, the chairman PTA, was part of the committee which took this action, well he is also the man behind internet censorship r

Ahmed
May 20, 2014 08:51pm

What a disgraceful and short-sighted period for journalists in Pakistan. Rival media companies applauding efforts of those seeking to lord it over Pakistanis by curbing their right to free speech by targeting Geo!

Mudassir
May 20, 2014 08:51pm

Sad day!

Fahad
May 20, 2014 08:53pm

Don't get too happy boys and girls...you're next.

Majid Sheikh
May 20, 2014 08:54pm

To ban a channel - news, entertainment or sports - is to deny people the choice to see what they want to see or heard. It is case of mass hysteria, with the media being their own worst enemy.

Yes, there is no doubt Geo fell prey to a terrible editorial indiscretion. The answer is NOT a ban, but the chance to self-correct. All the news channels need experienced editorial persons, but little chits of boys making serious editorial decisions. I am against any ban, terrible that no doubt Geo is as a professionally run channel.

sethuraman
May 20, 2014 08:54pm

It is good for Pakistan.soon it will end up like Yemen or Nigeria. Thank you jinna you saved us.

Fiz
May 20, 2014 08:55pm

Strange things happening in the srange land. Some of the people + anchors would feel super happy, saying " thund par gai seenay main."

Harmony
May 20, 2014 08:58pm

Shocking!!! This extreme decision seems to have been taken in haste. Religious intolerance at its best and that too after repeated apologies.

trueblue
May 20, 2014 09:00pm

freedom of speech at expense of national security ? don't confuse someone's greed with media freedom or freedom of speech. Wrong parallels in my view..

Arbab Ali
May 20, 2014 09:00pm

After reading the comments it appears that only Geo is flag bearer of Free Speech and all other media houses are not, We need to distinguish between Free Speech and Hate Speech,well done PEMRA!!!!

Muhammad
May 20, 2014 09:00pm

Might is write. I mean RIGHT! What a joke!

saeeds
May 20, 2014 09:04pm

@Mudassir Sad Day ,but this is majority choice. We blame Politicians but it is Common Pakistani mistake. its include people from big city to small village , educated or uneducated .They all hate freedom ,democracy and right of speech. Because the lesson we learn from western societies that human freedom always suppress religion believe.

Asif
May 20, 2014 09:07pm

Excellent decision

Muhammad
May 20, 2014 09:08pm

@Ahmed Free speech does not mean abusing others

khalid
May 20, 2014 09:10pm

A black for media in Pakisan. The reporters and other staff of Geo have already got limitted to their offices and homes due to threats. Geo may operate from Dubai or some other country but it will be in position to report from Pakistan as their staff and infrastructure is no more safe in this intolarent country.

Imran
May 20, 2014 09:10pm

Media should be free but responsible.

Muhammad Farooq
May 20, 2014 09:13pm

If the agency involved did not agree to the allegations leveled against it, it could file a case in the court for defamation or libel against Geo and its owners, how come the licenses of the GEO network been suspending without any legal grounds. Do you still call it democracy?

Khan
May 20, 2014 09:16pm

Don't know the exact reason for this but for sure GEO went beyond boundaries on few occasions in near past. Geo was more acting like a bully and king maker, which is not the purpose of news channel.

This is all due to absence of ethics.

Khalid
May 20, 2014 09:18pm

@Harmony This is nothing to do with religious intolerance. Read the article once again, action is being taken on the MoD application for Geo and Hamid Mir accusing ISI before and immediately after the attempt on the latter's life.

Aasma
May 20, 2014 09:22pm

Pity an elected and electable political party joins the mullah-military alliance to curb free expression. Won't get far on GHQ's coattails.

Sufi Mateen
May 20, 2014 09:24pm

Black day in the freedom of speech. This can happen to any channel, institution and individual. I hate GEO's poor journalism but shutting down a media outlet is nothing but fascism at its best.A society cannot choose freedom of speech for some privileged one.

Azfar
May 20, 2014 09:30pm

Unbridled journalism. Checked.

Ashiq
May 20, 2014 09:30pm

'Real democracy' is coming soon.

Iqbal bhai
May 20, 2014 09:30pm

Geo was misusing its power. First it hurled allegations against ISI. Then it let its anchors lose to hurt the feelings of majority of this nation. With freedom of speech, comes the responsibility to respect others and their opinions/beliefs.

Ahmer
May 20, 2014 09:30pm

Double standards. The same Govt had recently withdrawn the ban on You Tube without receiving any assurance for future let alone an apology.

nadeem
May 20, 2014 09:32pm

Simply great

Kashif Chohan
May 20, 2014 09:32pm

Paving the way for Taliban regime in Pakistan.

AHA
May 20, 2014 09:32pm

@Fahad "Don't get too happy boys and girls...you're next.".

So True.

As one German intellect had said about the Nazi terror: "Then they came for me

Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali
May 20, 2014 09:34pm

A very sad day today. This is the beginning of censorship of the press. How powerful the ISI and their handlers are in Pakistan. They made lot of noise and got what they wanted, i.e, do not challenge us.This is was the matter of court trials and not a dictatorial decision. Pakistan is not a banana republic and please do not make the country worst than it is already. Lot of good journalists will be discouraged and will quit doing free reporting. Sounds like TTP mind set to me.

khan usman khel
May 20, 2014 09:34pm

Those who are sad on this decision i feel sory for them......

Waleed Waheed
May 20, 2014 09:36pm

What about ARY ? Geo played that disgusting skit once. But the people in ARY played it over 60 times. This is nothing more than politics as usual.

K Alam
May 20, 2014 09:37pm

Whatever any one wants to do must follow the law of the land as no one is above law!

Sami
May 20, 2014 09:38pm

A despotic dictatorship is now rolling in. Nawaz Sharif's bad and poor governance, corruptions and inefficiency of his Government can only be hidden from the general public when MEDIA is controlled by them. He managed it very intelligently.

Gulbaz Mushtaq
May 20, 2014 09:38pm

@Shakeel Ahmad Khan Freedom of Expression is ok. But what about propaganda ?

anony
May 20, 2014 09:42pm

Serves them right. Its good to have free media, but open-endidly leveling allegations against the Pak Army and intelligence agencies clearly shows an external hand playing with Pakistan's internal matters. I hope this will set a good example for others.

Pakistan Zindabad.

Irum
May 20, 2014 09:42pm

Pathetic.

DIAS
May 20, 2014 09:43pm

Should I say Congratulations?

Chand
May 20, 2014 09:45pm

Banning or suspending the media doesn't happen in India or US or UK, why it happens in Pakistan? Why is Pakistan offended by little things? Media is the watch dog of democracy acts as an opposition, It is the fourth pillar hence protect its freedom. I think Geo is banned for wrong reasons.

amiin
May 20, 2014 09:48pm

i think they should fined. thats all. A ban is too much.

Rehmat Ali Chaudhary
May 20, 2014 09:51pm

This was long due. Geo programming was a constant attack on the ideology of Pakistan and Islam.

Mustafa
May 20, 2014 09:55pm

Pakistani leaders are desperately trying to isolate Pakistan from the rest of the world and the rest of humanity in an attempt to please the militants, the terrorists, the fanatics. No problem if Pakistan can survive without seeking any kind of co-operation and support from foreign powers in the world. The first step Pakistan should take is to pull out from membership of United Nations to tell the world it no longer considers itself a member of world community because its unique norms and way of life as decided by the state of Pakistan in current situation.

Bizmark
May 20, 2014 09:55pm

Who is NEXT?

Ahmed
May 20, 2014 10:00pm

Good beginning it's good for Pakistan as Islamic republic

Ahmed
May 20, 2014 10:03pm

Really sad. Other channels who are celebrating the kings death will face the same fate too some time. Shameful behavior by most media channels. Black day 4 media.

javedkhan
May 20, 2014 10:12pm

Geo will be kicked out from UAE like they kicked them before.

Nipun
May 20, 2014 10:22pm

Starting the auspicious journey back to age of darkness. Good luck Pakistan.

AJamal
May 20, 2014 10:26pm

Following the foot steps of Army, our judiciary has played its part in destroying this country. PERMA was already made irrelevant by issuing 81 stay orders against its decisions by the courts.

Frankenstine
May 20, 2014 10:29pm

to all those who are saying its absurd let me tell you "News of World" was banned in 2011 due to "phone hacking scandal". The newspaper was publishing news for 168 Years. That incident happened in UK(a Democratic country which allows free Media and Free speech ) not in a third world country. so its not very strange and GEO is not banned only suspended

Bilal
May 20, 2014 10:30pm

@Shakeel Ahmad Khan is "Freedom of speech" mean that everyone is 'free' to say anything which is either legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, cultured or uncultured? Sorry sir, please review you definition and views.

Mahendra Singh
May 20, 2014 10:30pm

No one can ever imagine taking off licence of a TV channel in India. Many of them openly criticise the government. In Pakistan someone openly shoots a journalist and the government compliments by suspending the license.

Saad
May 20, 2014 10:32pm

Cool. Now we'll have hundreds of thousands of more unemployed people on the roads. Will the establishment take them in ? Oh I forgot, you need to have a certain height and eyesight to make it to the defence forces. With YouTube and geo gone, we can follow the like of military states like north Korea...

Common man
May 20, 2014 10:32pm

@Shakeel Ahmad Khan The remnants of Ziaul Haq are still very much alive and thriving.

faisal
May 20, 2014 10:34pm

Finally GEO got what they deserved never did liked them anyway

Bizmark
May 20, 2014 10:38pm

Ban Indian Turkish and English channels too!

Tariq
May 20, 2014 10:39pm

Very SAD, lets see what other things get banned.

Dure Wahab
May 20, 2014 10:41pm

Good decision. Geo "with responsibility...!!!"

ahmed
May 20, 2014 10:43pm

dictatorship in pak ?

BlueCollar (usa)
May 20, 2014 11:01pm

No matter how you slice it - it is against the spirit of free speech. Since GEO had apologized for showing objectionable material, it should have been enough. Indirect message to all TV networks,' If you don't play by our rules, you are out'. In order to thwart this action by PEMRA all networks should go off the air.

khalid
May 20, 2014 11:09pm

Anyone giving air time to Aamir Liaquat Hussain should have their licence suspended.

Muhammad Sarwar
May 20, 2014 11:14pm

Once again proven that the cronies appointed during PPP's tenure were totally incompetent.

ahmed ali rahoojo
May 20, 2014 11:21pm

Good job by PEMRA! Now its a good precedent that laws regarding media are being implemented

khan
May 20, 2014 11:25pm

I am not against the private media however over these years I have not seen any value in them.

ansh
May 20, 2014 11:34pm

Really sad for pakistan. media is voice of common people. Pls dont endorse this act it will only bring shame n disspointment for the nation.

Rev. Eldrick Lal
May 20, 2014 11:39pm

Fascism has once again hit our beloved nation of The Pure " Pakistan"

SK
May 20, 2014 11:40pm

Welcome to Stone Age...well done

Eli
May 20, 2014 11:46pm

Don't make this country a joke!

Riz
May 20, 2014 11:46pm

its good to close this channel now.. democracy and freedom of speech does not mean to disrespect state and humiliate it in front of the wold,it does not mean to disrespect religious beliefs., take camera on shoulders ,mic in hands and u cant ask anything u like from anyone.

Meesaq Zaidi
May 21, 2014 12:12am

This was bound to happen. Talk shows were made a joke. Anchors / Producers were hired on the basis of their connections and political affiliations. Government secret funds buying loyalties. 'Muk Muka' is the buzz word today. This will happen again and soon too.

Meher Ali
May 21, 2014 12:33am

@Aasma

Not elected but selected party. People saw dhaandli and want justice and FREE elections now !

Mohammad Akhtar
May 21, 2014 12:37am

Where is freedom of press? Where is freedom of speech? Pakistan is going backward and it is not good for the progress of the country. Every one should have the right to speak freely.

waqas
May 21, 2014 12:42am

A rightful decision made. Journalists should behave like journalists; their main duty is to tell the truth not to spread conspiracy theories about the state and its premier security agencies. Its time for the government to analyse the premier news channels of the world, their attitude about their base countries and their views and expressions about their respective security agencies to develop a modus operandi that not only guarantee freedom of expression but also protect the prime national interests..

Adil Farooq
May 21, 2014 12:54am

First PCB, now PEMRA. Bit by bit all institutions are sliding into chaos. Simply because of a few peoples egos and stubbornness. No one knows whose calling the shots. Torn between the government, judiciary, media, citizens, the list goes on. Honest and credible governance is the need of the hour.

Laiq Butt
May 21, 2014 01:18am

A great day. A positive decision. More to come and appreciated.

Laiq Butt
May 21, 2014 01:19am

@hasan So true.

Nisar Ahmad
May 21, 2014 01:33am

Not only Gew but all media houses should set house in order. That is bad decision as it will please undemocratic forces and mullah/ fatwa groups. Religious extreme will destabilize country.

DisparateAamer
May 21, 2014 01:36am

Now PEMRA disowns member's decision.Geo will be riding sine wave for a while but then...... Someone really needs to worry! And again Geo doesn't seem to be the one.

Musarrat Javed
May 21, 2014 01:40am

It is bad to ban any TV channel. Come on we are in 21st century. Independence of media is very important. We know our media is immature but with the passage of time it will get better. Criticism on ISI should not be taken up to that level. All TV channels are commonly criticizing Political govt, NA courts, police. What is special in ISI it is part of country with lot of question marks on its professionalism, and their role and miss use of their powers. They considered themselves above the which is wrong. If we Ban GEO now there is no future for freedom of media in our country and no TV channel will say any thing about the wrong doing of establishment. PEMRA do listen to these non senses. Banning of GEO mean we going back to 1979.

M. Siddique
May 21, 2014 01:54am

This is the climax of circus of indiscipline and lawlessness. Street justice has become a norm in Pakistan. So help us God.

NASAH (USA)
May 21, 2014 01:59am

DON'T TOUCH THE GEO -- IT IS A BEACON OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH --

HANDS OFF GEO!

WE FROM ABROAD HAVE LOTS OF AFFECTION AND RESPECT FOR GEO'S JOURNALISM AND JANG NEWS. HANDS OFF GEO.

daar
May 21, 2014 02:03am

@anony Inter social intolerance strikes back?

Syed
May 21, 2014 02:12am

I would ban Geo for 6 months and financial fine of 50% of its net worth, for e.g if Geo is worth 2 billion dollars I would take 1 billion dollar and distribute it to poor people or make homes for the poor people inPakistan. This is how the western countries punish their society in general.

Sajjad
May 21, 2014 02:14am

"The committee formed by Pemra was tasked to review the Ministry of Defence's application filed against Geo TV network for leveling allegations against an intelligence agency of Pakistan"

That is the real reason behind this. All that religious discussion is just smokescreen. The spirit of Zia is very much alive in the country! And the gullible are falling for it.

Ak
May 21, 2014 02:58am

These Private TV Channels need to monitored and regulated very closely. Especially, their finances. Money will always lead you to the Culprits.

Syed
May 21, 2014 03:08am

Even though my brother-in-law works in Geo and i fear for his future since he will most likely be jobless if the channel is shut down. But personally I have always wanted Geo to be shut down since a long time, recent incidents might be critical, but its the trend that Geo has set in the media and public. completely destroyed our social and cultural values, dramas, programs, comedy everything is negative, and the impact can be seen in the society. I dont hate India but we are different from India and Indian culture and in last few years i feel that indian (movies/drama) culture is growing in our society and Geo has played a massive role in that. Now its gone to stage where i cant watch some of the programs with my family. Its Islamic republic of Pakistan, so its every action should be Islamic because people tend to follow what they see. Hence being a media company they need to be more responsible than a normal person, as they are being watched and followed for millions. I hope people understand what i mean. I have no personal grudge against anyone, but thats just what i see so saying it.

life
May 21, 2014 03:09am

@Frankenstine it wasn't banned. The owner"the sun" shut it down on 7th July 2011. Moreover it was a tabloaid. The newspaper itself was suffering the loss after huge losses because of low advertizing revenue due to phone haking scandal.

kirther
May 21, 2014 03:35am

What can one expect in a country governed by unfaithful and corrupt system, when assembly members can get away with forged/bogus degrees and credentials, how can anybody in such an environment inculcate ethical values and restore high moral standards. The government of the day is more interested in protecting terrorist and corrupt elements. The overseas Pakistanis must stop investing and remitting money to Pakistan. The present government and the National Assembly are only interested in flouting the laws of the land rather than upholding rule of law and democratic values. When GEO TV made day long telecast maligning security agencies as well as hurting religious feeling of majority of Pakistanis. Government without any hesitation should have taken immediate corrective action rather then creating difficulties for the whole nation, as well as leading the entire nation into disgraceful and shameful situation.--This act of government not only failed to protect national institutions but also deprived Pakistanis of their basic rights to protect their religious values. Any system devoid of basic human rights cannot be considered democratic, hence must be made accountable.

ammar saeed
May 21, 2014 03:49am

in the name of freedom of speech, one media house shouldn't be allowed to act against the state and its institution. where in the world any media channel goes against the interest of state. it was geo who was working against the state and creating disharmony in the society by igniting sectarianism all in the name of freedom of speech. We the Pakistanis cant allow this to happen all in the name of freedom of speech. such anti-state acts must be punishable and no one is above the law, no one is above the law and the security of its country.

Amir
May 21, 2014 03:54am

@Umair Can you not survive without watching one entertainment channel or replacing it with another ?

Sonny Afridi
May 21, 2014 04:10am

@Muhammad well said sir

Jalaluddin S. Hussain
May 21, 2014 04:10am

This gives a negative publicity and bad name to the Honourable Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who will be speaking to the Montreal audience on Thursday, May 22, 2014, on the very subject of Tolerance and Human Rights

Larkanavi
May 21, 2014 04:21am

Wow! It seems the biggest problems we have right now are the morning shows. Forget about poverty, corruption, lawlessness and so many other problems. The outside world is simply amazed at our stupidity. And we still think Pakistan is the fortress of Islam. if indeed it is a fortress then it must be the only one of its kind because its foundations are so easily and frequently shaken, almost on a daily basis. God help us.

Shahpur
May 21, 2014 04:28am

@hasan

At this point of time, small things are real important. A Media Giant like GEO and JANG should make a Break now, and think where things are going.

Akil Akhtar
May 21, 2014 04:47am

@khalid what about the intolerant media....

Akil Akhtar
May 21, 2014 04:50am

@Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali Do you think such unfounded allegations against state institutions are allowed in the west where we get this idea of freedom of speech from. We Pakistanis need to differentiate between freedom and exploitation of it.

Raja
May 21, 2014 05:11am

GOOD RIDDANCE.

saf
May 21, 2014 05:37am

@Frankenstine . News of the world was not banned. The owner shut it down and opened under new name.

sharouk
May 21, 2014 05:54am

@AHA Well, Geo should have considered the consequences of playing with the religious sentiments of 180 million Muslims, before telecasting a sacrilegious parody. Muslims are very sensitive to any disrespect towards their religious personalities. If something similar had happened here in America, their TV station would have been burnt down.

Akbar
May 21, 2014 06:14am

I fail to understand why, whenever some legal action is taken apart from the major prevalent issue the public always tries to draw the attention towards, food, electricity, other civil issues. Yes those issue are there and needs to be addressed but that does not mean that no other issues should be addressed.

This is bizarre every time an institution is trying to follow legal proceedings we have huge cry over electricity, food and other issues. I Think a legal action should have been taken long ago when the popular anchor during one of the prime time talk show challenged the sitting government, stating that GEO is big enough to take the government down. If a media house tries to become bigger then state than it should be a major worry for the state.

MMM
May 21, 2014 06:26am

Our "feelings" are very delicate. We can hurt the feelings of every other religion, but we are quick to destroy our own properties and harm our own people if there is even a slight hint of disrespect to Islam. Wake up people. Concentrate on education, science, economy, literature, art etc. and unwind a little.

Husain Jan
May 21, 2014 06:43am

@khan True, but this is the case with most, if not all, channels...but Geo ..only Geo is being made scapegoat. ARY and its man Luqman are perhaps more naughty than Geo but no action against him. Not a sign of foul play by Pemra ?

Ayaz
May 21, 2014 07:12am

It was ok to ban Geo not because they ran a silly tv programme but becatuse they have been maligning the Pak army. This goes to show how narrow minded people are in this country to ban something over so petty. Shame on all the radicals. You people don't stand up against the government when they are busy looting all the wealth. But god forbid if they utter some nonsense in the name of religion all you people come out of your burrows.

Nadeem
May 21, 2014 07:19am

The Government successfully goes ahead with its agenda to demolish PEMRA. Pakistan can't prosper until unless ethical part of rights & obligations is not in place or at least realized. Authority/ Chairman can only sustain if empowered (fully empowered) and once empowered, these powers are used with utmost honesty. All it depends on integrity which is unfortunately missing.

Shezad
May 21, 2014 07:34am

A temporary suspension until May 28 would be enough to give Geo a message.

Personally I wont shed a tear if Geo is suspended permanently as market forces will ensure other channels takes its place. Their coverage alleging ISI's Chief being the main culprit without any proof tipped the balance.

You cannot challenge a state institution without proof and hope to walk away.

Khan
May 21, 2014 07:47am

Not a fan of Geo but can PEMRA has the guts to stop religious channels which are running without any license? In a country where there is no law what you expect fom channels?

Sarfaraz
May 21, 2014 07:49am

How about slapping a hefty fine on Geo for both indiscretions and not suspending their license.

Nadeem
May 21, 2014 07:57am

@Sarfaraz fine

Saiyed zaidi
May 21, 2014 08:04am

Pakistan is not a Toy don't play with it if it breaks there won't be a replacement these kind of Toys are out of production. Don't be selfish Pakistanis choose a leader who can clean up this mess , get these people out who cannot look further then their nose.

Rahber Rind
May 21, 2014 08:08am

Pick up a fight with Media or Tv channel such as Geo--is not in the interest of ISI or the Govt. Now a new media war would be waged against ISI and other sections of govt. and institutions.. 24/7 TV and print and electronic media is available. How in the world ISI or any individual or any institution can fight with such machine -- Now we live in advance age with 3g and 4g mobile phones - internet - fax. email. viber. youtube. facebook.. How any govt or agency going to close the GEO . Entire world media now will broadcast this news.. What Geo could not do on its own - ISI did it for GEO -- reach billons of people.

SMQ Zaman
May 21, 2014 08:36am

As Dawn rightly points out, Pemra's sub-clause 3. (4) states:

"3. Meetings of the Authority, etc.- (4) The Chairman shall convene a meeting of the Authority either at his own accord or, as the case may be, on request of more than one half of the total membership."

It is pathetic, diabolical and highly embarassing that these three members of Pemra (public representatives) have made this announcement after an 'unlawful constitution of the quorum' in a meeting that took the decision to suspend Geo's three channels in response to the MOD's application on the incident of 'allegations of wrongdoing against ISI and its Chief' last month.

This, also, makes their positions untenable for such a gross error of judgement and not knowing its own rules of meetings!

Moreover, the argumentative and ill-mannered (speaks over others) Naz Baloch of PTI was 'quick off the mark', without thinking before speaking as is usual with her in TV debates, to tweet "Congratulations finally the voice of masses heard. Geo licence suspended. Mir Shakeel must know the power of common man", when this is not the official position of PTI (as already stated in a public conference on Sunday by Imran Khan)!

That also shows them up, as how naive, incompetent and misinformed some of their officials are and they are merely engaged in 'political scoring' rather than having any appreciation of the deeper implications of such a decision by Pemra!

Does Pemra have any right to make a decision on this case, now, that the matter under deliberation has become 'sub judice' by constitution of an illegal meeting, due to the un acceptable incompetency of these three members (representing the public) and then to have made a public announcement that has now been rejected by the spokesperson of Pemra?

Another fiasco and crisis-in-the-making for the overburdened Supreme Court to decide upon soon, it seems? This marks one of the darkest days for Pakistan's democracy and the media's role!

sikandar
May 21, 2014 10:14am

@hasan There is very strong "force" who does not want stability in the country. Because people start asking questions from them. Unfortunately this "force" have agents in political parties and important govt institutions. If you see the conference this man was very much "thankful" to his bosses.

Ahmer
May 21, 2014 11:19am

What has happened to the blasphemy committed against Ahl-e-Bait?

Sk. Maqbool Basha, Lahore
May 21, 2014 12:16pm

All this big issue erupted because of a three minute qavvali song. I expected that people come out in the streets, fight police and die in thousands. That is the mindset of Pakistanis.

Interesting Comment
May 21, 2014 01:36pm

Freedom of expression and Propaganda.

Don't forget GEO's role in LAL Masjid.

Shahzad Ahmed
May 21, 2014 02:11pm

@Mahendra Singh Here is a different story. Here they criticise with malicious intent then black mail for financial gains. Every one has a price tag in this country Judiciary, Journalist, politician gather requisite money and I will advocate your ideology since I am owner of newspaper, news channel my voice will reach to millions. Ever read Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky... read but that applies to civilized world with face saving of every one here it is slap on the face style.

Ansar
May 21, 2014 02:30pm

O for God sake people! Why do you forget that you are first and foremost an Islamic country. Freedom of speech has never been absolute, and is qualified by other provisos. No Constitution has ever allowed anyone to violate honour of others under the garb of freedom of expression, not even in the West. If these actions are not regulated by an authority then the masses will take things into their own hands....leading to anarchy and chaos. Wise move by PEMRA to calm the impending storm.

Mike Ghaous
May 21, 2014 06:13pm

The media houses themselves are responsible for this fiasco.. religious & security issues must be handled with care.. time for them to cool down. will be over anyway. hope they learnt the lesson, hard way though.

M K Sufi
May 21, 2014 06:14pm

Bravo All we can do is gag the media. The power of the common man is not interested in solving important socio-economic issues. Why not shut down all TV channels, Incidentally I don't watch which soever channels that have been shut down. The feudal mind, has very well reflected in the people, who ordered the shutting down and of the champion of democracy and vocalist.

Hasan Mahmood
May 22, 2014 07:38am

GEO is the mouthpiece of the current government and is at odds with ISI.It has no integrity and it proves that by allowing Aamir Liaquat to act as a mullah on its channel. It should be forever banned and its so called journalists should be punished.

Malikpur Janderbari Abbottabad
May 22, 2014 10:53am

No matter geo or other channels mistakes, it is PEMRA who is responsible for all ... totally failure of PEMRA, if they were true body they can stop in the first hour of geo broadcast.. I think everybody should speak about PEMRA whose member still staging drama instead of finding any solution, every body stood against geo whereas if you watch all other channels are involved in negative activities and PEMRA is silent.

ravi
May 22, 2014 11:41am

I am surprised at some of comments. Society is slowly getting radicalised, intolerant and against liberal thinking even within Islamic principles. Pakistan has to improve on education system and avoid too much emphasis on religion which ideally should be relation with allah and individual, nobody should intervene or guide this relationship. Free media is must for a society for its improvement and bringing its problems known to everybody. Banning and stopping GEO without proper legal system is undermining judiciary and legal system of Pakistan.

basharat
May 22, 2014 06:27pm

According to PEMRA Rule 3 sub rule (4) the meeting of the Authority can be convened by the Chairman eitheror on his on accord or as the case may be , on the request of more than half of the total membership.The manner the meeting has been convened appears to be unlawful and decisions made therein are illegal and have no effect. The unprecedented haste shown by the members shows their bias and is incompatible with serious nature of the matter. While convening the meeting provisions of PEMRA Rule 3 sub (2) has not been complied with, which stats, " The agenda and notice of time, date and place of meeting shall be circulated among the members at least one week prior to the date of the meeting". Right to freedom of expression and access to information. Government functionaries occupying high positions should, instead of readily yielding to unlawful demands of unruly mobs should learn and exercise the ways and means to control them.

Maqboolfida
May 23, 2014 05:52am

This is how an emergency starts... clamp down on the freedom of the press.. soon in the pretext of sharia law even civil liberties would be taken away... installing a theocracy is the only way for the ruling elite to save themselves and retain power.. so unless something is done about this .. Pakistan stares at a dark tunnel !

NASAH (USA)
May 24, 2014 04:55am

@Shezad An emphatic NO temporary or permanent -- this is not a Musharraf's dictatorship or a country governed by bearded old men who want to marry underage girls.

Press freedom is paramount -- especially when people have publicly apologized. PEMRA accept the apologies and go home.