Geo News, Pakistan’s highest viewership TV channel, is not being seen by most of the country due to orders by President Zardari.
Orders have been given to all cable operators to shut down GEO News transmission and or to place the channel towards the end of the cable frequency where most of the TV sets don’t have access to the channel.
During the Musharraf Emergency, Geo Network lost more than 25 million dollars when all its channels were shut down for almost 3 months.
President Zardari had sent messages to Geo Management that if the Network wanted to r ec over its past losses through its pending court case, and avoid future loss, then it should stop supporting the movement for the restoration of an independent judiciary.
President Zardari had taken offense at media’s reminder to the public of his promises about the restoration of the Nov 3, 2007 judiciary (some of the footage can be seen on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzBmH7szeZU and others on GEO’s website). Geo showed footage of the President’s late wife and Ex Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, openly supporting the restoration of the independent judiciary. Bhutto had made spe ec hes upholding the freedom of the press, restoration of Judiciary and Iftikhar Chaudhry as well as repealing article 58-2B and encouraging people to prepare for a long march for the cause of justice. Most of these points also appeared in Charter of Democracy, an historic document signed by the largest political parties of Pakistan before the last el ec tions. President Zardari has not stood by any of the promises made by him or his late wife and when the mirror was shown to him by the media he reacted in a manner not b ec oming of a civilian government.
Ironically, when Geo was shut down by General Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto had visited GEO’s offices and had categorically stated “I will ensure that Geo will never be treated like this in a future PPP government”; sadly, her legacy does not seem to have survived her, at least not in the President’s House.
Geo is affiliated to the Jang group, Pakistan ’s largest media house., which has been subj ec ted to pressures, threats and intimidation from various governments in the past. The Government of Nawaz Sharif confronted Jang during its last period in office. The pressures were so enormous that the flagship newspaper of the Group was forced to reduce itself to 2 pages, when newsprint as well as government advertising was withdrawn.
Geo does not support any political party nor does it subscribe to any political manifesto. However, it will continue to support the cause of justice and the independent judiciary in Pakistan .
Mir Ibrahim Rahman (MIR)
CEO, GEO Network