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Pemra forms committee to review govt application against Geo TV

Updated April 23, 2014


— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has constituted a three-member committee Wednesday to review the Ministry of Defence's application filed against Geo TV network for leveling allegations against an intelligence agency of Pakistan, DawnNews reported.

The committee, comprising Syed Ismail Shah, Pervez Rathore and Israr Abbasi, will review the application against GEO and apprise the Pemra Board of the facts surrounding the matter.

Pemra officials said the nature of charges against Geo news were serious hence the channel would be given a full opportunity for offering an explanation.

Earlier on April 22, the Ministry of Defence had moved Pemra to take action against Geo TV network.

According to an official source, the application had been moved following approval from Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif under the PEMRA Ordinance 2002, section 33 and 36 to take legal action against the channel management for framing allegations on the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and its Chief Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam.

The defense ministry filed the complaint late Tuesday against Geo to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority, spokesman Fakhruddin Mughal said.

The complaint accuses the station of "undermining the integrity and tarnishing the image of (a) state institution and its officers and falsely linking it with the terrorist outfits."

"The reporting made and the programs aired cannot be viewed as a single event," the complaint reads.

"Geo Network has a history of acting illegally in furtherance of the anti-Pakistan agenda."

The complaint asks the authority to revoke Geo's licenses.

Mughal said the authority's legal team issued a notice Wednesday to Geo about the complaint, seeking a reply in 14 days. He said Geo representatives have been ordered to appear May 6 before the authority.

Late Wednesday, Geo reported on air that it believed authorities blocked their signal in some parts of the country. Officials could not be immediately reached for comment about the claim.

The network had aired a portrait of the ISI chief, alleging that he was responsible for the attack on anchor and senior journalist Hamid Mir.

The injured journalist had informed a friend, family members and the management of Geo TV, about a possible attack on him.

Mir was injured after his arrival in Karachi on Saturday when unknown gunmen opened fire on the vehicle he was traveling in near Natha Khan area on Sharae Faisal road.