Pakistan Orders TV News Channel Silenced

Pakistani Media Organizations Threaten Nationwide Strike

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2009

GEO News, the most popular television news network in Pakistan, was ordered blocked today by government regulators. Officials have yet to comment on the exact reason for the blocking, but most see it as retaliation for its harsh criticism of the actions of the government during the crackdown against opposition figures in recent days.

Part of the Jang group, GEO News had a long history of criticism of and harsh retaliation by the Musharraf government. The station and indeed the entire media group have been equally critical of the Zardari government since the imposition of emergency rule across much of the nation, with its print outlet “The News” running a story titled “Fascism in Action.”

The ban has been harshly condemned by opposition figures and international media organizations. Media groups in Pakistan say they will go on a nationwide strike tomorrow, certainly an expression of outrage at the banning but also giving the government the media blackout it seems to seek at a time critical to the history of Pakistan.

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