.
.
.
.

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'

Published: Updated:

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.

Non-compliance

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.