ISLAMABAD, March 12: Two private TV channels remained off air for some time on Monday after getting a warning from the government's media regularity authority for showing pictures of police baton-charge on protesting lawyers in Lahore against the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
It was the Aaj TV which first showed the footage of police chasing and beating the protesting lawyers on the streets of Lahore at around 1pm. The TV channel showed senior Supreme Court lawyer Sardar Latif Khosa with a bleeding head being taken by colleagues for medical treatment.
After a while, another private TV channel, Geo News, aired the footage of the same incident.
After some time, the two channels went off the air simultaneously. The transmission of the two channels resumed after several minutes with a different footage of the Lahore incident.
Sources told Dawn that an official of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) in Sindh contacted the managements of the channels on telephone and told them not to telecast the scenes of police action against lawyers.
They said the Pemra official was particularly angry over the scenes in which Latif Khosa was shown bleeding from a cut on his head. The managements of both the channels replied that they were telecasting the news report because their competitor was also showing it, they said.
The sources said the managements of all private TV channels were under pressure and issued ‘verbal orders’ not to give too much coverage to the ongoing judicial crisis.
Despite several attempts, Dawn failed to contact Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani and State Minister Tariq Azeem to seek the government's version.