Pakistani broadcaster Geo News ordered off air for two weeks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 10:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 10:12pm

Pakistan's media regulatory agency yesterday suspended the operating licence of the country's leading news channel for two weeks after a clash with the powerful military spy agency.

The decision was announced by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. The organisation suspended Geo News for 15 days and imposed a 10 million rupee (HK$1.3 million) fine.

The Authority "took a strong notice of violations committed by Geo News and unanimously decided to immediately suspend the licence ... for a period of 15 days," the organisation said.

Geo stayed on the air for a few hours and reported the news of its own licence being pulled along with a graphic showing the Geo News logo wrapped in chains, before the signal was cut.

Viewers then saw a blank screen with the message: "The licence of Geo News has been suspended by PEMRA, therefore the broadcast of channel has been terminated."

The suspension is the latest challenge for the media company following an assassination attempt against its top news anchor, Hamid Mir, on April 19. Mir survived six gunshot wounds to the stomach and legs during the attack in Karachi.

The station angered Pakistan's military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, by airing accusations by Mir's brother that it was behind the attack.