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Reporters Without Borders question GEO blockage in UAE

RSF issues an immediate press release questioning the blockage of Capital Talk and Meray Mutabiq on GEO tv

Dubai-based satellite TV station GEO News censored again

Reporters Without Borders calls on the governments of Pakistan and United Arab Emirates to explain how GEO News, a Pakistani privately-owned TV station that broadcasts by satellite from Dubai, was forced to drop two very popular talk shows under threat of losing its licence to operate in Dubai.

GEO TV president Imran Aslam told Reporters Without Borders that the Dubai authorities informed him last night that the station would lose its licence if “Capital Talk,” a show hosted by Hamid Mir, and “Meray Mutabek” (According to me), hosted by Shahid Masood, were not taken off the air.

Officials at Dubai Media City, where the GEO TV group is based, said these programmes threatened UAE’s relations with a friendly country.

The Pakistani information minister said her government was not involved in the decision. But GEO TV journalists suspect that President Pervez Musharraf applied pressure for the two programmes to be withdrawn. Masood recently interviewed a former general who was very critical of Musharraf.

The two shows also had also given a lot of coverage to efforts by lawyers to obtain the reinstatement of judges dismissed by Musharraf last year. In November, Musharraf pressured the Dubai government to suspend GEO TV’s operations altogether.

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  • nazia |

    Live coverage of lawyers movement has been stopped since 7 pm GMT.It clearly reveals the victory of long march but no doubt to say that ruling mafia has been active again to secure its interest and their legendry icons .They have come out of their mask of democracy to stop the people’s power on the streets of Pakistan

  • fauzia |

    Geo airing some very sensitive issues of country without any controlling, which is harmful for the repotation of the our country. No daubt Geo is a very useful channel but some hosts play againt the public and country policies. I request Geo to issue news with responsibility with the better interest of Pakistan.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    Jo Chuup rahay gi zuban e Khanger
    Lohoo pukaray ga asteen ka.

    Kis kis ka munh band karain gae ab toe log sarkoon per woh kuch keh rahay hain jo Geo Nashar bhi naheen ker sakta.

  • dr razahaider |

    agree with fauzia.media should realize the sensitivity of the issues with respect to present anarchial situation.floating such idaes that may downgrade or disgrace the country will open a new chapter of international indulgence in the form of sabotagging integrity and peace.selecting a proper theme of p[resentation is the responsibility of the media and in my opinion prper sorting of time and place is now the prime venue of importance for liquidation.


    GEO is after all a pakistani channel and it has some qualities of a pakistani like telling stories with mirch and masalas making tings up and carring shit abt pakistan national interests

  • anas |

    I knew the blame would go on Musharraf. Instead blame the new government, blame Zardari, blame Rehman Malik or even blame Sharif who is IN government (or out of it? or reaping benefits of both?)

    And, the government of UAE has every right to do whatever it wants. Try the LONG MARCH in Dubai against this. The point is that UAE doesn’t want anything to be aired from its land which harms it relations with Pakistan. That’s the law of the land. Challenge it in court, if GEO thinks it is unwise, why not?

  • Muhammad Atif |

    If someone has done wrong and is inquired or exposed should not be considered as “harmful for the repotation of the our country”.Country is not the name of an individual. Anyone who has done wrong shoud be brought to justice and if the media discuses these things in a healty way I think this should be accepted with open mind.

  • Hassan Abbas |

    Geo has done nothing wrong,and it has exposed no secrets or air anything which is not known to the world at large.Musharaff has been lying about the Saichin fiasco which he and a select group of only three generals in the army created.Geo has done a great service to the nation by allowing time on it’s channel to insiders (retired army generals and close friends of Musharraf at that ) to confirm for the general what the knowledgable amongst the civils already knew.
    What is wrong with this ? I would request those who are making incorrect allegations of Geo harming national interests to be more objective – and kindly explain how exposing liars, manipulators and traitors is harmul for the national intrest.

  • Shabbir Ahme |

    I agree Geo has done nothing wrong ,and the UAE government has done everything wrong by blocking Geo from airing truthful news and commentry for which Geo holds the licence making huge payments for doing so to UAE besides investing heavily in equipment and staff.

    In the long term such decisions of the UAE government will infact harm relations between our two countries ,for they are supporting a dictator with whom the public is fed up.And this is a public which cannot be fooled any longer.
    Asif’s unduly long detention on possession of illegal substances of ‘a microscopic quantity’ in Dubai is another one of the type of ‘friendly’ acts we can expect from our Arab friends in Dubai.Is there any truth to the rumors that Asif was framed becaus of a tiff with UAE immigration authorities at Dubai airport ? And why has our other Asif who has based his entire family s -and now heads the majority-for the last so many yearat Dubai so unable to get him released?

  • anas |

    @above: Asif’s unduly detention?? Stop supporting drug addicts now. Asif deserves to be punished!!! (The matter is not relevant here though)

    It is the exclusive right of the UAE government to deal with GEO in whatever way they want. Go to the court if they wish or shift locations or go to Pak, whatever! Its not the end for GEO, certainly. You cannot challenge the law of THEIR LAND. It’s their land and they will do everything to promote their relations.

    And just FYI, more than 300 channels are being aired from Dubai, and no one channel does this sort of biased reporting than GEO.

  • Hassan Abbas |

    Asif is a national icon.If the UAE are our friends They could have handled the matter more discreely and let our cricket board handle and punish the man if he was really involved.
    But of course it is their country and they can behave anyway they like – can’t they? Including ban a TV channel for no reason except it’s airing of a certain interview harms their relationship with Zardari or Musharraf- not Pakistan.
    If they want to see where Pakistanis are let them watch videos of The Long March.Zardari or Musharraf are not Pakistan.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |


  • dr razahaider |


  • Altaf |

    Most people have a fair idea of what happened in Kargil.
    But when it is aired on public television by senior generals that ‘it was a disaster & India would have destroyed us if this had turned into an all-out war’, this is no help to Pakistan & gives the International community even more material to accuse us of being an irresponsible state. An investigation should be done into the incident by all means but not in the media & not in Shahid Masood’s talkshows.

    Similarly for the A.Q.Khan issue. Everybody is criticising Musharraf’s policies as if A.Q.Khan had done a personal favor to him. I think A.Q.Khan had done a favor to the entire nation by taking all the blame on himself. Otherwise, there were already voices in the foreign media that our nuclear assets were & are in unsafe hands & we might have been put under pressure to allow international supervision over them. The recent interviews given by A.Q.Khan might again come to haunt us when the USA is done with it’s War on Terror & no longer needs Pakistan’s help.

    So hate Musharraf all you want but please think of Pakistan interests first. There is an excellent article in Dawn on these former Generals campaigning against Musharraf “The Wannabe Heroes”. Read here: http://www.dawn.com/2008/06/13/op.htm

  • Altaf |

    One other thing I’d like to add. I do not support blocking TV Channels & programs but there must be a code of ethics which certainly should not be guided by the fact that the channel is airing opinions against the sitting powers (like on the judges issue) but by National interests such as i mentioned in my last post.

    Secondly, it is being said that Musharraf is behind this recent ban & the govt. has denied it was involved. If that is true can someone ask them what they are doing in Govt. if these things are beyond their control? If Musharraf is still interfering in Govt. affairs why is he not being impeached? There is a very easy way to do it & the required strength in the parliment is also there.

  • anas |

    @Hassan: If a national so-called icon does something wrong he should not be dealt any differently than a common man. So Asif carrying drugs is no different than any other. And why should he be? The LAW has to prevail. The LAW cannot be different for everyone. Isn’t that what people are campaigning for in Pakistan? So why shouldn’t the same theory apply in UAE? Just shows some narrow focus of yours.

  • M |

    Atleast somebody out there has some sense thank god!
    khas kam jahan pak.. definitely hoping somebody blasts the entire media, especially geo for filthy news, bunch of charseees ughhh
    The nation of idiots that v r, v wanna go do a long march for restoring justice haha i would be a part of it too, if justice meant impeaching the present powers who corrupted the nation long before Musharraf even intervened. I m not even defending him, but there is so much more to be done before pointing a finger at him.
    TM seems to have a long nurtured hatred for the president. For someone whose blog shows up on igoogle, he is an embarassment for Pakistan.. y cant u just get out of here and let the people be! huhh?

  • Aamir pakistani |

    media is free here in Pakistan,it is only media owing to wich long march became succesful,it is only d media with whose grace people of pakistan now start standing on their feet against evils of society,..i m not agree with Dr.raza,media is a mirror it should show d real picture,n Geo is showing d real picture of Mush. wich hi does’t like to see.that’s y some programes is blocked..
    i request all of u to think but think possitve,we should protect media…not degrade it…..

  • Hassan Abbas |

    For heavens sake talk some sense.Just think over what you wrote:”when it is aired on public television by senior generals that ‘it was a disaster & India would have destroyed us if this had turned into an all-out war’, this is no help to Pakistan & gives the International community even more material to accuse us of being an irresponsible state.” Then answer these questions.
    Q1. When you carry out an irresponsible action, do you think the international community is a fool and does not understand it as such? Just name one nation which did not think this was an irresponsible action even at that time?
    Q2. But if you are so conscious about showing the international community how responsible you are as a nation; could you achieve that better by holding an inquiry and if neccessary punish those who have initiated actions which make us look so irresponsible – or would we achieve it better by covering and pushing their evil acts under the carpet?
    Q3.How is the general coming on air and saying an inquiry be held ,no help to the country at all? I think it strengthens the call for an Inquiry which is always held and should have been held after any such debacle- if only to help avoid making the same mistakes in future and punish those responsible .This is standard procedure in any nation/army after a major fiasco . One must wonder why it was not held in this case.Even you in your post state that an inquiry be held but not in the media.The general is also publicly making a call for such an inquiry NOT as you wish to portray holding an inquiry over the media

  • Hassan Abbas |

    Altaf just wondering over your comment:If Musharraf is still interfering in Govt. affairs why is he not being impeached? There is a very easy way to do it & the required strength in the parliment is also there.

    Could it be because of a deal brokered by our ‘allies’which forces Zardari to work hand in hand with Musharraf -or alternatively deliver even better then Musharraf if he want’s to sit in the President’s chair?

  • Hassan Abbas |

    Anas ref your comment:If a national so-called icon does something wrong he should not be dealt any differently than a common man.

    I disagree. The the reasons mentioned below.

    Where have I disputed your idea that he should be punished if he has done anything wrong.I just pointed out that the UAE authorities did not show they are very friendly towards the people of Pakistan by this act-and also the one about banning Geo programms.

    As far as punishment is concerned here is exactly what I said: They could have handled the matter more discreely and let our cricket board handle and punish the man if he was really involved.

    I can write reams on the subject- but just a hint. I hope you know the lengths to which the Bombay betting mafia can go to force a result of a match.Asif was passing through Dubai from India to Pakistan.A major Indo-Pakistan clash was due in a couple of days at Dacca ;And Dubai minor staff are known to be very corrupt .I am not saying he was framed- but to give him the benefit of doubt he could have been.That is why a friendly gesture would have been to let our cricket board handle it;and they did go there for this purpose.

  • Altaf |

    Hasan Abbas: I still stick my earlier post. Gen. Kiyani could have come on TV & just said that an enquiry be held & those responsible be held accountable & that would be that (Musharraf might as well be responsible. I am not arguing that). Instead he had a personal score to settle with Musharraf so he let the interests of the nation go to hell.

    Inquiries into such sensitive matters are held in other nations but not in the media. And Kargil happened in 1999. If Gen. Kiyani had such a big conscience why did he continue serving under Musharraf’s command? He had an option to resign. And why after retirement did he continue to accept appointments to senior positions by the same man?

    Forgive me but I am not blinded by the hatred for one person. Musharraf has had a bad record in power, but hearing it from people with backgrounds like Gen.Kiyani, one cannot but doubt their motives. I would call this oppurtunism rather than conscience.

    And if you objectively listen to what these former Generals are saying, all their opposition is to the person of Musharraf, not to the institutional role of the military which should be the real issue. They are actually defending the enormous expenditures on the military & its economic & business enterprises.

    Regarding why Musharraf is not being impeached, you are spot on. That is what i was implying that all our politicians are sell-offs. My problem is when people argue that every ill in Pakisan is because of the military interference in politics, while completely ignoring the part played by the politicians in one dictatorship or the other. Nawaz Sharif & BB/Zardari are equally to blame for Pakistan’s ills, infact more because in addition to being inept at managing the country they were also extremely corrupt.

    If our media had been more honest about the dubious background of all the politicians that matter in this country, this double crossing would not have come as a surprise. But before Zardari showed his true colors the media chose to forgive & forget his corruption tainted past.
    Same goes for the Sharifs. Their exploits of the 90’s have been conveniently forgotten because they happen to be making the right noises.

  • Altaf |

    I think Geo wants to become the Fox News of Pakistan & Shahid Masood wants to style himself after Bill O Reilly.
    Actually they have succeeded in it quite a bit as well.
    If anyone has ever watched Fox News they would know what i am talking about.