ISLAMABAD: ARY News went off air on Monday evening in many parts of the country with the channel blaming the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for the move.

However, Pemra didn’t give any reason for its action.

The channel’s transmission started to face disruptions at around 8pm in Islamabad, parts of Punjab and Sindh, though it was available in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

While local cable operators replaced the ARY News slot with other channels, the subscribers of Nayatel saw a static screen displaying the message: “The channel is currently unavailable. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Some subscribers in Karachi received a message from their cable operators that the service had been suspended. The message read: “Valued customer, the transmission of ARY News is suspended on instructions of Pemra till further notice. Inconvenience is regretted.”

The channel said the “strategic media cell” of the ruling PML-N was spreading false information and fake news to create divisions between PTI chief Imran Khan and the armed forces.

It also said that several fake accounts were involved in defaming PTI by spreading fake news regarding the Lasbela helicopter crash, in which six army officers and soldiers were martyred.

Pemra officials could not be reached despite repeated attempts for comment, apparently due to restrictions on mobile phone services and slow internet on account of Ashura-related security measures.

ARY claimed that the channel was taken off air “after its June 27 report on the activation of the ruling PML-N’s strategic media cell proved to be true”.

But that could not be confirmed from official or other sources.

ARY News also went off air in May ahead of the PTI’s Azadi March.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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