Pakistan suspends news channel supportive of Imran Khan
ARY News, a popular station, is being taken off air for 15 days for 'maligning honourable courts and judiciary'
Pakistan on Monday suspended a television channel supportive of anti-government protests being held by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan and a populist cleric in the capital Islamabad.
ARY News, a popular station, is being taken off air for 15 days for “maligning honourable courts and judiciary,” the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said in a statement.
Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri have been staging a sit-in in Islamabad since August 15. They accuse Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of vote rigging during last year’s elections but local and foreign observers say the polls were credible.
ARY News was also fined 10 million rupees ($97,089), the media authority added in the statement, saying that the channel has a history of not complying with PEMRA laws.
It is the second time the national watchdog has suspended a television station in little over four months after GEO News, the country’s most popular channel, was taken off air in June over a row with the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Pakistan began awarding licenses to private channels in 2002, leading to a media boom and a sharp rise in critical reporting.
But while the media has been relatively free to report on the country’s political parties, the all-powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for half its existence and higher judiciary, remains a sensitive topic.