RSF: Government lifts cable ban on Geo TV but makes it remove some programmes

Reporters Without Borders issues a press statement

Reporters Without Borders hails the lifting of a government ban on cable TV distribution of the privately-owned TV channel Geo News but deplores the fact that President Pervez Musharraf made it conditional on the suppression of some its programmes.

“Geo News has made major contribution to improving Pakistanis’ access to independent news since 2002 and should never have been banned,” the press freedom organisation said. “The ban, which lasted more than 10 weeks, was aimed at silencing outspoken reporters and commentators and investigative reports that were often damning for the authorities.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “It is regrettable that the government insisted on the withdrawal of certain programmes. This constitutes yet further evidence that censorship is unfortunately still the rule just a few weeks before the parliamentary elections scheduled for 18 February.”

The Geo News ban was identified by Reporters Without Borders as one of the five key press freedom problems that need to be resolved before elections are held. The organisation also maintains that, despite government denials, the ordinances on the print and broadcast media impose censorship and should be repealed.

The amendments to the ordinances on the print media (RPPO 2002) and broadcast media (PEMRA 2002) enable the authorities to impose a three-year jail sentence on journalists who defame or mock the president.

Reporters Without Borders supports the “Free Media for Fair Pools” campaign organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
Geo TV’s management confirmed to Reporters Without Borders today that President Musharraf gave permission on 19 January for Pakistani cable TV operators to resume distributing the news channel, Geo News, and its sister sports channel, Geo Super. Because of the Shiite festival of Muharram, Geo TV postponed the resumption of distribution until today.

The agreement between Geo TV’s owners and the government is conditioned on the suppression of news programmes hosted by Dr. Shahid Massod and Hamid Mir, two veteran journalists and commentators. They are allowed to continue working as journalists for the station, but cannot present their own programmes. The authorities also requested that columns by pro-government commentators should be published more often in The News and Jang, two newspapers owned by the Geo TV group.

All of the Geo TV stations, which were banned on 3 November, the day that a state of emergency was proclaimed, broadcast from Dubai.

Most of the other TV stations that were banned on 3 November resumed broadcasting after signing a code of conduct imposed by the government on 12 November.

11 thoughts on “RSF: Government lifts cable ban on Geo TV but makes it remove some programmes”

  1. It is not surpise for people who know mussarf now very well that he wants to rule on his own basis.He dosnt want to hear any objections on his wrong doings.He considered CJP iftikhar, dr masood or hamid mir like people as his worst enemies of battle ground and that’s why he is using his all state powers to remove those icons without knowing that these people have already won the hearts and mind of ordinary people by standing against the ruling mafia.Nation would surely take time to organise its strength but time is not far away when people would eneter into his army house and he will have no space to run.

  2. A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday dropped contempt of court proceedings against Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) vice chairman (VC) Tariq Javed Warraich, executive committee chairman Syed Arbab and four other members, and restored their practice licences.

    The licences had been suspended after they made contemptuous remarks against the judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

    Warraich, along with other PbBC members, appeared before the bench, comprising Justice Mian Muhammad Najamuz Zaman, Justice Maulvi Anwarul Haq, Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, Justice Tariq Shamim and Justice Asghar Haider. Advocate Ahmad Awais, who appeared before the bench on behalf of the respondents, told Daily Times that he had informed the court that the PbBC had uttered those remarks on behalf of the legal fraternity across the province.

    On a question, he said he had not given any assurance about the non-occurrence of such incidents in the future. PbBC secretary Akbar Bhatti presented a record of the PbBC about the respondents. Earlier, the full bench had suspended practice licences of the PbBC executive committee chairman and its four other members after holding them guilty of misconduct.

    The bench took action after the PbBC office bearers suspended the LHC order. The LHC registrar had placed a report before the bench about the PbBC order. Those PbBC members, whose licenses were being cancelled, are Tariq Javed Warraich, Syed Arbab, Amir Jalil Siddiqui, Rana Ziaur Rehman, Iqbal Mohal and Asif Ali Malik.

    The court had issued show cause notices to them seeking an explanation as to why their licences could not be cancelled.

  3. Its ‘OK’ for Musharaf to allow anti-Pakistan programs and movies boldly aired by indian channels to be shown on all cables networks in Pakistan, also portraying overdosage of hindu culture and rituals but its not ok for him to allow any kind of criticism that can effect his highness or anything that can make people think how worst his government has performed.

    I don’t think there would be another such self-centered person in history, this man has destroyed almost every aspect of life in Pakistan starting from army to judiciary, from everyday peace to everyday commodities, and just to save his seat. What a shame!

  4. The dictator before starting his hoildays in Europe expected tough questions from the journalists and therefore he had to let the GEO tv go on air before he landed in Europe.

    This is how the dictators are. Lacking courage and ethics. Only thing that is always in fornt of them is self interest.

    We must all hate them and strive against them else they will sell the whole nation.

  5. The job that the Kangaroo court of the dictator wanted to take from the PBC has been taken. After all they had to appear in front of the Fake Judges and thats what was desired of them. By merely appearing in front of these puppet judges of the dictator, they have accepted these as legal. So the charges had to be dropped by the fake judges.

    Remember, we will not let these fake judges remain in offices illegally. Soon Insha Allah we will throw all these PCO judges in the dustbin with the help of Allah Insha Allah.

  6. The licences of BAR representatives were suspended on orders of former Chief Justice of Punjab Justice Iftakhar by Justice Bilal, both are well known pets of Musharaf.

    Bilal gave notices to lawyers representatives for passing a resolution that lawyers dont recognise present PCO judges as judges of the court.

    On this notice the lawyers representatives were ready to appear before BILAL Khan but there was every possibility that BILAL Khan would be pulled out of court by angry lawyers and thing would turn ugly, the PCB do not wanted this to happen, so they did not appeared before him.

    Now new Chief Justice Zahid Hussain has realised the blunder of former CJ and Bilal Khan and tried to clear the mess by adopting a middle path.

    It was actually not an appearance in stricet terms but a formal “in camera” meeting between Bar and a 5 judges who took back the orders of Musharaf’s puppet judge.

    It is not equalent to appearing before these fake judges although it is a reality that an order passsed by these puppets while in court room is a court order unless the indipendent judiciary is restored and sets it aside, there would be hardly any impect of it on lawyers movement, rather lawyers has gained by this back off of fake judiciary.

  7. Well Capital Talk is not ban, it gonna be aired today 23rd Jan 2008 @ 10:05 PM PST…………..well guyz don’t make issues of baseless things…………..

  8. Leave Musharraf alone. He’s the only honest leader this country has. He is the only leader who has a clear vision for Pakistan’s progress and who really cares for the country’s respect. He continues to face all odds with honour and dignity. How many of our past leaders (except Jinnah) and our present lot can compare with Musharraf? He may have his faults (and which human being doesn’t?) – and he has made quite a few mistakes -but you cannot question his sincerity and honesty.
    In fact, it’s a pity that we don’t have Shaukat Aziz participating in the country’s affairs anymore because he and Musharraf made a perfect team. It is these kind of upright and clear-headed people that we need to move forward as a nation. We have had enough of Nawaz Sharif and the rest. It will certainly be a sad day for the nation if, God forbid, any of these useless people come to power again.
    As for Geo, it’s good to see it back on air and let’s hope it will behave itself this time around. Too much freedom spoilt this and some other channels to the extent that they started wielding unfettered power over the minds and hearts of the people.

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