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Update @ 0944: CEO of Geo TV sends message on extent of media clampdown

The following comes in, via a Facebook e-mail exchange, from Mir Ibrahim Rahman who is the CEO of Geo TV in Pakistan, a channel which has been blocked by the Pakistani government who has also begun talks with foreign governments to have the channel’s transmission blocked overseas. In his message, Mir, states that he is safe at the moment despite having received numerous death threats, his TV network along with the Jang newspaper group been victimized while senior hosts, journalists, producers and the chairman have all had their phones bugged and recorded:
I am kind of Okay. They have shut down all our channels. I can’t believe Musharraf has become what he has become. I still feel sorry for him though. I cant believe THAT more than anything else. Anyway, pray for Pakistan. It needs it. Things are a lot worse than you think, since you are probably not watching what is going on as all of Pakistan’s private news channels have been blocked for past 6 days.

Tomorrow they are going to revise the army act, which will give them powers similar to that of the infamous patriots act where they can ‘court martial’ civilians even and hold them without due process or cause for months at a time. Another nail in the coffin of our constitution. actually its only now that I have truly begun to have felt the power of and appreciated words and promises. I guess which is what our or any constitution is- when I realized what life can be without them. we normally don’t feel it. I guess, apart from some of our lawyer friends. and most of us definitely think the common man will definitely not feel it as he or she has many more important things to think about and worry about than a bunch of words written in a book 40 years ago.

But I have seen how trampling on what seems like mere words effects all of us. Those mere words (our constitution- another way to look at it, is a way of life reached by consensus, in 1973) are actually our rights- that are going down the drain. fundamental rights, article 4 and 8 (something none of us have a right too right now in Pakistan as per the emergency and PCO that was implemented 5 days ago) are not something that someone can take away or give, they are inalienable rights, and thus can only be denied to you- for a time. but you still have them even then..as they are yours.

They can pick any one of us up without being questioned, and you would have no recourse to go to ultimately, no second or even third party. they can give anyone a contract without due process and the press wont be able to bring it up, or will think three times before doing so and risk detention or their channels will be blocked. they can elect who they want, do what corruption they want and we won’t be there to check up on it or expose it, they can perform as they want and there will no feedback at least not as negative which would make them afraid to do better for their constituents. next time someone wants to steal the nations steel mill for less than 50% of the land value alone, next time the big wigs manipulate the stock market with the information they have due to being part of the state, next time their gang members hoard sugar, wheat or oil and artificially increase the price of goods for profit against the law and at the expense of the masses….next time for any of this, the media might not be around and this friends is how law (and the people that are protected by it) effects the common man.

The new PEMRA ordinance (regulatory body of media in Pakistan which believe or not was known as r.a.m.b.o once officially) states that they have the right to close down any channel for an indefinite period without giving warning or a show cause notice, and cancel the distribution through cable as well as size equipment and imprison us for 3 years. next time for any of this, the media might not be aroundand more importantly the next time a civilian government tries to take advantage of their constituents and also try to manage their stay by cooperating with another power, will they think twice about the judiciary and media letting them do it silently? Up till a month or so ago, yes, they would have thought twice and we actually might have closed that pandoras box or cycle. yes the media might not also be around to sensationalize news, to show gory pictures and present opinions as facts, but that is not the aim of the “correction” taking place here. though these are things which need a code of conduct, an internal one at that and not one that is forced on us at gun point. How many good things have been done in this world w a gun?

The point is common man will suffer more than any of us. But that is something they don’t even realize yet. And the media is not there to pass even that on to them it seems. and that is something to fight for. At the end there are arguments I remember from my philosophy classes about men being inherently evil or good. I don’t want to debate what is musharraf or isnt. what I do know for sure and can rely on is that our audiences and the citizens of pakistan, just like the rest of mankind, is definitely selfish. and they will not let anyone take away the information empowerment that they had felt for the past 5 years- and esp for which they almost didn’t have to pay for! They will want their channels back! Heres hoping that perhaps with it, they will want their inalienable rights as well!

Some of our best work has been done in the past 5 days, probably tops half of what we have done in the last 5 years of our existence. unfortunately no one can see it in Pakistan! Most of my friends and colleagues here are either calling me directly or are calling their loved ones abroad who can watch GEO in UK, USA, UAE, Canada ectonly solace is that somehow they have not been able to block us on the net yet, people are watching us on many places, on our websites.

The following are examples of media victimization due to Geo’s stance on “live and let live” (geo aur geenaydo) reporting. plus I think they think we don’t get manipulated that easy and have done some evil (read daring or exposing) stuff in the past and therefore want to make us more of an example for others.

I had been asked to send the following to a journalist before and am listing them below:

a) PEMRA and the establishment victimized jang group and geo network by having its entertainment channels also blocked with its news channel. Aag ( www.aag.tv) the nations first youth channel and GEO the nations most popular entertainment channel is also blocked along with geo super. (other entertainment channels of all groups are on!)

b) Jang press was surrounded by police 3 days ago in an attempt to stop printing of its late afternoon special edition

b-1) Two days ago Islamabad Geo bureau was surrounded by plain clothes “policemen” who were asking people where are the entrance and exists of the building as well as other mischievous questions. Our senior hosts, who are the faces of our channels, chairman and I have received written and verbal death deaths more than the usual average.

b-2) Many of our senior hosts and producers and executives have their phones bugged and recorded.

c) We have started a new service where you can SMS 4360 and text “mna” and you can get breaking news of GEO but they blocked it the same day of the emergency.

d) Advertisers have been called and pressured not to advertise with geo channels so that financial pressure is used to influence us

e) Even international locations wherever we have critical presence are being pushed to look into ways how GEO’s transmission there can be disturbed and put off.

f) The new PEMRA ordinance also has been designed to tackle popular social satire programs, like Hum Sub Umeed Say Hain, and claims that we cant make fun of legislative, executive body members as well as security institutions and armed forces (Civil society members, including artists, lawyers, students, teachers and media professionals can continue to be ridiculed though as they are now)

g) Geo super which has the exclusive rights to India Pak Series was banned by perma and cable operators were not allowed to pass on the signals to million of satellite viewers. Geo Super had also purchased air time to air the series on terrestrial state network ( PTV) and that too was not aired despite written commitments!

h) This meant that the entire country (satellite homes through super and ptv thorough terrestrial) was deprived of their favorite sport during such a anxious times and also deprived the state broadcaster of incremental revenue from geo

i) This was done with PEMRA as both PEMRA and PTV fall under the information ministry and the government wants to cripple geo through financial pressure and losses and once again has used ptv. Similarly PTV uses PEMRA as well to fight of its private competitors.

k) It is estimated that 80 crores can be lost by geo super (12 million dollars, and this doesn’t count for how much already has been lost on the rest of the network as its been off air for 6 days) on the India pak cricket series alone. This loss threatens the very existence of the only sports channel in Pakistan and all that it had been doing for sports development in the country. www.geosuper.tv

l) There is other stuff as well which should probably not be put in writing at this point.


  • ange |

    Anon, that’s not a constructive comment, nor are we getting anywhere with hateful comments 😉 while hiding behind an IP address and attacking a network which broadcasted accuracy of happenings on the ground isn’t really productive either.

  • GEO is the BEST |

    Dr. Shahid Masood of Geo is the Best.
    He is Hero of Pakistan.
    He is the heart beat of all of us.
    Hamid Mir is the crown of Pakistan.
    All Geo members are real pakistani.
    Geo, Geo members.
    We all pakistani are with GEO.
    GEO and Gene DO.

  • Ms Gene do |

    Dr. Shahid Masood of Geo is the Best.
    He is Hero of Pakistan.
    He is the heart beat of all of us.
    Hamid Mir is the crown of Pakistan.
    All Geo members are real pakistani.
    Geo, Geo members.
    We all pakistani are with GEO.
    GEO and Gene DO.

  • Waseem Hussain |

    My Name is waseem Hussain& im Working in Oman.I have lots of pake friends with me.last night when we heared that GEO is Shut Dowend by Govt.i just cont tell my Feelings.it was shock for us.GEO for us was our Home.because of GEO TV We never felt away from home & now we are feeling that our most omportant person of life is finshed.We all Pray to the God for GEO Return.General Mushraf is Doing Wrong.He is a Worst Man in History of Pakistan.no body Likes Him spaciely after this .He wants us to take again in Stone Age.I wish i could do somthing.we are planing to held demonstration hera.we r with you.Inshallah we will win.Dr.Shahid Masood & Hamid Mir & all Geo Team we r with u.

  • abdul waris |

    hello salam to all of geo tv channel members.i want to tell you onething that every one is coming in government for his own requirement so dont think that the government of pakistan will work for people………. iam abdul waris from sindh

    jiye bhutto
    jiye benazir
    jiye awam

  • abdul jabbar |

    salam to all people of pakistan.i have question that why mushraf still in pakistan he is not sadar of pakistan then why he is here?

  • musheer khan |

    iam musheer khan from hyderabad iam best boxer in pakistan but chans nai milta aap ye baat media pay show karein

  • feroz ali artani |

    hello salamz to all geo tv members i am feroz ali artani doing job as a school music teacher weekly classes so matter is that i want to start programme kids so i have my keyboad an experence is 15 years but i have no any recorces so as u can help me so posible i was try ary in dubai 4 yrs ago but cant achive then i heart an back pak i am attend sohail rana prog. he is a nice person but we all forget mr. sohail rana his provide us most beautiful kids massage song an national songs also an today i will remember by heart mostly songs all knows not is any new geo tv is best chanals when u can reply me i did u all about me my age 42 yrs live in f.b. area cell no. 0300-2236436 now i hope as posible reply me soon tc allways be happy this my pray for all the geo tv members thanks

  • Muhammad Ali Zubary |

    Hello salaam to all geo members I am Ali i want to tell you about a kidnaping news
    distt and teh Sailkot Village dakwala Maiyani sy ek shadi shoda larki jis ki umer 22 hy ko 3din pehly kidnap ker liya gya hy kidnapers ny 10lakh ki demand ki hy aur dehmki d hy k ager police ko inform kiya tu larki ko jaan sy mar dain gy police station report ker d hy lykin abi tak koi action nahin liya gya faimly ki mali halt itni achi nahin k wo ye amount dy ker larki ko bazyaab kerwalain aur phir police b karwaee k liye chaye pani ki demand ker rahi hy pleas ap kuch help kerain is repot ko Arbab-e-Iqtader tak pohchain k wo aman k rekhwaloon darul Amaan police waloon ko jagayain un ko ghyert dilayain in ko herkat main layain k phir ek behn ek baiti ek bivi jo is milat is mulak aur us mezhab ki hy jis ny Aurat ko ezat-o-ehtram ka wo mertaba diya hy jo dosra koi mezhab nahi dyta jo sab sy behter hy aur phir ye ek islami reyaset hy ek nezriyati jis ka nazriya islaam tha jo is bunyaad per qaiym hoi thi jis k liye hazaaroon qurbaaniyaan d gai thien wo nazriya wo islaam wo nazaam wo Azaadi kehaan hy her rooz derjenoo ki ezatain lutti hain zulmo jaber ki inteha ho rehi hy kehain zinda dergoor ki ja rehi hy tu keheen wani karo kari aur keheen ziyadti k baad cheray per tyzaab daal ker sir-e-Aam road per phaink diya jata hy ye tu mohezab society hy islami society hy ye tu sab zamaanay jahliyet main hota tha na kya ye wohi zamaana nahi hy kya ye insaan hain kya ye muslim hain kya is larki ka b wohi injaam hoga jo wo M.S.C KI Taleba ka ho hy ya us sy b bura ? kya aman k rekhawaly usy bacha payain gy kya koi leader us ki khaber ly ga ya phir jo hota aa raha hy wohi hoga

  • Ahmed Zareef |

    Reporting Cell

    as salam o alikum

    Khanna Pul, Rawalpindi Kay Nazdik Ghouri Town Road per aik Nai Tamir Shuda Masjid "Anwar-ul-Ahsan" per guzishta raat say takhreeb karon (terrorists) ny qabza ker liya hay.

    Police ki koshish k bawjood woh qabza nahi chorhty, intazamiya agencies say apeeal hay k wo tawajah farmain.


  • nazish |

    i am not able to understand why geo keep one of its eyes closed. i dono y ur team took soo much interest in stupid issues like the marriage of sania and shoiab but you guys does not have a single moment to check out whats happening in the evil world. they are about to do an event which is very touchy for Muslims moreover its a matter of our beloved PROPHET S.A.W.W plz publically protest the event which is going to be celebrated on 20 may 2010 plz take action we shoulkd report out protest by our media.