Three privately owned TV news channels in Pakistan were taken off-air by the country’s broadcast regulator, according to a notice posted by Pakistani’s Capital TV on Twitter, Tuesday July 9th.
The three news channels, Capital TV, 24 News HD, and Abtak News 247, had been taken off air by the country’s regulator, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, without a reason being given, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported.
However, according to Pakistani daily, Dawn, the move came after the channels aired speeches on Saturday July 6th, by opposition leader Maryam Nawaz, levelling accusations of corruption against officials. Nawaz, the daughter of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gave a press conference that featured a judge claiming that he had been blackmailed into convicting the one-time prime minister.
The Pakistani authorities said the channels were unavailable because of “technical issues.” However, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said the outage was an act of “brazen censorship.”
However, during a media freedom conference in London, when Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was questioned about it in detail, he replied "believe me, there is no question of gagging or controlling media," adding "that time has gone and with the new social media, the advent of social media, even if you want to gag, you can gag nothing” AFP reported.
The global media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, this week has warned that Pakistan’s cutting off of the three news channels was "indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies."