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Geo News back on air after two months

world Updated: Jan 21, 2008 22:58 IST
Kamal Siddiqi
Kamal Siddiqi
Hindustan Times
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Geo News, Pakistan largest private news channel began broadcasting again on Monday morning, after President Pervez Musharraf directed that the channel should be back on air “with immediate effect”.

Geo disappeared from television screens at 2 pm on November 3 last year, four hours before the proclamation of Provisional Constitution Order (PCO). While other national and foreign news channels were banned for only a brief period, Geo not only saw its news channel, but also its sports, youth and entertainment channels disappear from television screens. "It showed the government wanted to put financial pressure on the company," commented Ghazi Salahuddin, a media analyst.

On November 3 the government introduced new legislation for the broadcast media in the form of the new Pemra Ordinance 2007 that was immediately followed by a new code of conduct for the electronic media on November 4. This code – ostensibly a voluntary agreement into which TV channels entered – contained, however, such provisions such as the imprisonment of journalists up to three years, revocation of broadcast licences and the confiscation of equipment if the line the government had drawn was overstepped.

It became a bone of contention between the government and the electronic media. However, by November 12 the government was successful in negotiating certain conditions following which most channels including CNBC, Dawn News, Aaj TV and Business Plus signed the code of conduct and came back on air again.

Geo refused to. It remained banned on Pakistan’s cable systems. They continued their international broadcasts from Dubai Media City (DMC).

However, on December 16 the DMC, took the decision to stop the international broadcasts of both these channels.