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Independent TV channels in Pak taken off air

world Updated: Oct 03, 2007 19:52 IST
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Pakistan government on Saturday ordered cable operators to immediately shut down independent news channels follows riots outside the Election Commission building.

According to cable operators in Islamabad, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PMERA), a media watchdog, has issued strict orders not to air three news independent news channels.

"We have been asked to immediately close down ARY, AAJ and GEO TV channels," a leading cable operator in Islamabad told IANS.

"We have to obey the orders, otherwise they will do what they did in the past," said Akhtar, who identified himself only by his first name.

He said that during Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry's judicial trial they disobeyed a similar order and all their equipment was confiscated and damaged.

"This is nothing new...we have been seeing this since March when we started giving independent news to our viewers," said Syed Talat Hussain, director news of AAJ television.

He said that this was a grave situation and "we regret but it won't stop us from airing the facts".

"First they asked to hook off ARY, soon after orders were given for AAJ and later for GEO," said another cable operator requesting anonymity.

Only state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) and some other channels were on air after police used sticks and teargas to disperse the agitating lawyers and political workers who were opposing Pervez Musharraf's candidature to fight the upcoming presidential election in military uniform.

Teargas shells were also fired inside the Supreme Court as the lawyers ran to take refuge in the building.