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156 illegal FM radio stations jammed

July 20, 2006

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ISLAMABAD, July 19: The government has taken 156 FM radio stations off the air to stop the spread of religious extremism and anti-state sentiments, notably among Pashtun tribes near the Afghan border, a spokesman for the regulator said on Wednesday.

The raids have been conducted by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulating Authority (Pemra), working in tandem with local officials in tribal areas during the last six months.

“Our regulations do not extend to the tribal areas. But we are coordinating with local authorities and police to jam or shut down these illegal stations,” a spokesman said. He said 94 stations had been operating illegally, and transmitting their religious and political views. “The rest were closed down by the local authorities,” he said.