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World


CPJ urges Pak officials to restore TV news outlets

CPJ urges Pak officials to restore TV news outlets

New York, Jul 10 (UNI) Pakistani authorities should immediately unblock broadcasts of privately owned news channels Capital TV, 24 News HD and Abtak News 247, the Committee to Protect Journalists has urged.

Capital TV posted a notice on Twitter stating that the three channels' transmissions had been blocked by the country's broadcast regulator, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. Later that day, on Monday, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association, a private industry group, issued a statement saying that the channels had been taken off air by the regulator without being given a reason or a hearing.

The move came after the channels aired speeches late last week by opposition leader Maryam Nawaz leveling corruption charges against officials, the newspaper Dawn reported.

The authority has not issued any public notice about the shutdown, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the CPJ, a nonprofit city-based organisation.

"Pakistan's blocking of the transmission of news channels is simple and blatant censorship," said Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority or any other authorities responsible for this move should immediately reverse course and restore the transmissions of Capital TV, 24 News HD, and Abtak News 247."

Mian Tahir, news director at 24 News HD, told CPJ by email that his channel had been blocked in all major cities and in other areas of Pakistan. He said that local cable operators told the broadcaster's management that the regulator had ordered them to cease transmission of the channel.

Last year, CPJ -- which has been set up to safeguard the interests of scribes worldwide -- issued a report documenting the increased intimidation of Pakistani journalists by the nation's security forces.

UNI XC RHK SNU 0939

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