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From ShutUp GEO to BanGEO

Posted by yourpakistan on April 25, 2014


Pakistan Army ISI Bashing by GEO Tv

Pakistan’s largest media broadcaster “Geo TV” has itself became a topic of discussion on the rest of the news channels of Pakistan because of the campaign done by Geo TV after an attempted assassination on Hamid Mir, a leading journalist of Pakistan and anchor person of “Capital Talk”, a talk show on Geo TV.

by Atiq Durrani 

When the news of the assassination attempt appeared on the news channels all Pakistanis prayed for the life and health of Hamid Mir but things started to change just within the first hour. Amir Mir, younger brother of Hamid Mir, told the GEOtv that Hamid Mir had told him before this incident that if he was attacked the Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lieutenant General Zaheer-ul-Islam and would be responsible, and that that Hamid Mir had received threats from ISI.

Just after the statement of Amir Mir, GEO started a campaign against ISI and continuously aired the image of Gen Zaheer ul Islam as an accused person in the assassination attempt on Hamid Mir without having any evidence against the chief or ISI.

This action of Geo not only infuriated the people of Pakistan but also surprised the journalists and anchorpersons of the other TV channels in Pakistan. This act of GEO TV was strongly condemned on the social media site by the people of Pakistan. #ShutUpGEO trend was started by social media activists in Pakistan to condemn Geo that was later joined by some of the leading journalists, politicians and intellectuals.

Director General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations ISPR condemned the attack on Hamid Mir in his statement and said that an independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to find out the facts but at the same time stated that the allegations against ISI are baseless and misleading. He added that a legal action will be taken against GEO after evaluating complete situation.

At the same time with the #BanGEO trend on twitter, social media of Pakistan demanded a complete ban on GEO TV for the campaign that it did against ISI trying to damage the reputation of the military organization.

On 23rd April a formal complained was lodged by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) for legal action against the channel management for leveling allegations against the ISI.

On the basis of this complaint, next day PEMRA issued a show-cause notice to GEO TV under Section 29 of the PEMRA Ordinance. GEO administration has been asked to submit their reply within 14 days.

In a recent development a Mr. Imtiaz Alam, Secretary General of South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and host of the television show “Achha Lagey Bura Lagey” on Expess News resigned when he was stopped by the management of Express News from doing live shows. According to the management this action was a precautionary measure wherein he was asked to record his shows before being aired because he had been on GEO TV campaigning against the ISI and its DG in the past few days, which may not have been the point of view of ExpressTV, and such provocation against the ISI may not be allowable by the channel.

This is not the first in Pakistan that social media highlighted the wrong doings of mainstream media especially GEO, several campaigns have been done by social media against GEO in which social media condemned different programs and campaigns like “Aman ki Asha” but this is the first time that the journalists of mainstream media, politicians, anchors and actors also participated in the campaign against GEO.

This is the right time for the government, PEMRA and the managements of the media institutions should draw a line between freedom of press and national interest. The borders of freedom of press always end there, from where the borders of National Interest start. Protection of the honor of Pakistan and its institutions should be the prime responsibility of the media networks in the media war and they should not cross that line in the name of freedom of press.

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