The announcement that a Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) committee had suspended the licences of three television channels owned by the Geo TV network drew a strong reaction on local media and online.

From terming the media a "Pharaoh" acting out of line, to outright condemnation of the suspension of Geo News, Geo Tez and Geo Entertainment, politicians, senior journalists and civil society members spoke out on the decision.

Speaking on a private TV channel, former information minister Javed Jabbar questioned whether PEMRA's move to revoke Geo's licenses was legal, given that due process was not followed.

Senior journalist and Executive Editor, The Express Tribune Muhammad Ziauddin termed the suspension questionable and raised questions about PEMRA's role as a regulatory body.

Speaking on DawnNews, senior journalist Nasim Zehra also criticized the PEMRA committee's decision, blaming journalists, media owners and the regulatory body for the current crisis.

Also speaking on Dawn News, senior journalist Mazhar Abbas said it was apparent no one seemed to care about the fear and insecurity this decision will spread among media workers. He said the decision was taken wrongfully, ignoring the technicalities needed for suspension of Pakistan's largest news channel.

Speaking to a TV channel, PTI spokesperson Shireen Mazari said no one wanted to see Geo News off air, but if the decision for suspension was taken lawfully, it should be upheld.

Former Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani condemned the closure of Geo:

Express News anchorperson and senior columnist Javed Chaudhry said journalists should remain journalists otherwise more channels would face such suspensions. He added that he believed "They [Geo] have stopped practising journalism".

Speaking on a private TV channel, senior journalist Talat Hussain said according to the law, no one should be surprised with the decision taken today, "There are some institutions you can talk against, and some you cannot" he said.

Analyst Arif Nizami, speaking on a TV channel said all politicians boycotted this PEMRA committee meeting, and they should intervene to prevent this suspension. He added that the electronic media should, in its turn, behave responsibly.

Geo and The News staff turned to Twitter to express their shock and outrage at the decision:

Many journalists and analysts also voiced their opinion online:

Opinion

Editorial

Dark days
Updated 26 May, 2022

Dark days

The PTI, on its part, does not seem to have been prepared to face such a large deployment of state machinery.
26 May, 2022

No room for dissent

WHILE political turmoil roils the land, a number of incidents over the past few days have demonstrated that though...
26 May, 2022

Harassing passengers

REPORTS of the confiscation of personal items from passengers’ private luggage by customs officials at Karachi’s...
Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...