News / Asia

Pakistan Military Wants TV Station Shut Down

A Pakistani photographer takes photos of a bullet-riddled car belonging to journalist Hamid Mir parked at a local hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, April 19, 2014.
A Pakistani photographer takes photos of a bullet-riddled car belonging to journalist Hamid Mir parked at a local hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, April 19, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan’s Defense Ministry has asked the government's media regulator to shut down a leading television news channel for airing “false and scandalous” allegations that the country’s spy agency was behind the shooting of one of its prominent anchors.
The controversy erupted shortly after gunmen wounded Hamid Mir, a popular talk show host for the private Geo News channel. Mir was being driven to the studio in Karachi when he was attacked last Saturday. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and is now recovering in a hospital in the southern port city.
Soon after, Mir’s brother, Amir Mir, appeared on the television station and accused the chief of military-run Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of orchestrating an assassination attempt. Talat Hussain, a columnist and political commentator, said there was nothing wrong with making such an allegation.
“But then what happened was that analysts who were working with Geo, their important news-position holders, their anchorpersons all started to rub [in] this point almost as if the ISI chief has been proven to be guilty and this went on for another 24 hours,” said Hussain.
The military denies the allegations, terming them regrettable and misleading. Late Tuesday it submitted a complaint through the Defense Ministry asking the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority to cancel Geo’s broadcasting license and take it off the air. The complaint accuses the TV station of “furthering [an] anti-Pakistan agenda.” 
But the action has worried press freedom advocates such as New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Its Asia program coordinator, Bob Dietz, said the Pakistani media regulator has the authority to shut down broadcasters on such complaints and it has done so under previous administrations. 
“If there are any mistakes that were made, and I am not much sure there were at all, these can be resolved. But for any arm of the government to start shutting down broadcasters or closing down newspapers I think it is just way overwrought. In not just in Pakistani media -- but in most countries’ media there is a lot of leeway given to the military and to the intelligence agencies but none of them are above criticism," said Dietz.
While conducting his prime time “Capital Talk” show, Mir has often criticized the military and the spy agency of abusing their authority.
There are reports that Mir sent a video message to the CPJ in which he accuses the ISI chief of planning to kill him. Dietz said his organization has no knowledge of a video.
“We don’t have it, we never got it and as far as we can tell it was never sent,” said Dietz.
The media regulator says it has received the defense ministry's complaint and will deal with it under the law. The regulator also says Geo will have an opportunity to explain its point of view.
There are no claims of responsibility for the attack on Mir, although authorities recently informed him and a number of other news anchors on other private TV channels that they could be on targeted by the Pakistani Taliban.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
April 23, 2014 10:15 PM
ISI played a dirty game against Pakistan.How much ISI is getting as fringe benefits from Poor Pakistani tax money and what is returning a big gape.ISI created Terrorist Taliban and still supporting Terrorist Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ISI created so many Uneducated Religious Party so there is no political power in Pakistan. ISI suppose to build Pakistan and its Acts against Pakistan by supporting Terroirist group. These Terrorist Group killed so many Innocent Pakistani Doctors,Advocates,Professor and so many educated and business personalities but not a single killer hange or punish. Even a 25 years of comman Pakistani knows very well who is killer of so many Pakistani, nos now more than TEN THOUSANDS.Why ISI did not speak loudly against Pakistani cream killer. ISI have very narrow interest for them self. If Pakistan is on world map then ISI will be there.So Please think intelligently and save Pakistan from TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

by: Abbas from: UK
April 23, 2014 1:51 PM
The army has banned IMC from all its institutions, whereas the govt had asked PEMRA to investigate the matter.Can nawaz's govt still claim that the army and govt are on the same page? This is a clear message for nawaz, the army is not on the same page as his govt! Army has by passed the govt, and we will soon be hearing a cock and bull story from nisar and pervez.
In Response

by: Seerat Sheikh from: NY
April 23, 2014 4:01 PM
National Interest comes first what ever it takes how many channels and how many men you can loose but for your country's security. When we talk about our National Institution we as a nation are ready to pay whatever it takes and whoever it could be. We love Pakistan and remain ever with Pakistani Army what ever it takes.

by: Abdullah Abbas from: Islamabad
April 23, 2014 9:53 AM
Courts are the Right forum to probe any terrorist act not a TV. GEO news has intentionally aired such baseless allegations about ISI is behind the Attack. Complaint for the shut down is right in terms of Law. We Pakistanis appreciate it.

by: Majid
April 23, 2014 9:51 AM
Good atempt

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs