ISLAMABAD: Taking note of reports regarding suspension of channels associated with GEO TV network, the Pakistan Elec­tronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has announced that it will take action against the cable operators not airing the licensed channels.

The issue surfaced as Geo News went off air in several parts of the country from Saturday evening.

In a statement issued on Monday, Pemra clarified that the authority had not given directives for closure of any channel.

It said that an inquiry had been initiated against TV operators — Wateen Multimedia in Lahore and Worldcall cable in Karachi — ordering them to restore transmission of Geo channels within 24 hours, otherwise their operating licences would be suspended.

Pemra warned cable operators to ensure transmission of all licensed channels, adding it was illegal to suspend a network without approval according to the law.

According to GEO TV network president Imran Aslam, all of their five channels were facing shutdown across the country, which was not just limited to areas in Defence Housing Authority (DHA).

“This is an attempt to financially cripple the organisation into submission,” he said.

“With the elections scheduled within months, some feel that this could be a form of pre-poll rigging. The government appears to be crippled and we are told not to have high hopes from the Supreme Court.”

Such was the condition and plight of independent media in Pakistan, regretted Mr Aslam.

However, by Monday evening, there were reports from several areas where the transmission had been suspended that the transmissions had resumed.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2018