Pakistan’s largest television network Geo News says it has been forced off the air by cable operators in most parts of the country. According to The New York Times, Mir Ibrahim Rahman, the chief executive of the network, Geo, said in an interview that they are off the air in 80 percent of the country, in a move widely seen as being forced by the military as it flexes its authority over civilian institutions. The network’s channel assignment on the cable distribution network has also been lowered.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has insisted that it was not behind the move and put out a notice for cable operators not to disrupt Geo’s transmissions.
Geo officials took pains not to publicly blame the military, and the military did not respond to requests for comment about whether it was punishing the network. Nonetheless, the action against Geo is being seen as an unmistakable message from the country’s generals that they would accept no negative reporting.