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

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs