Pakistan's media blackout eases -- selectively.

Posted: 10 Nov 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Thursday allowed cable operators to resume the transmission of some private TV channels. The PEMRA directed cable operators to switch on some Pakistani and foreign channels, including Indus News, TV One, Apna TV, TV Khyber, BBC World, CNN, Fox News, Sky News and CNBC. ... The majority of journalists are considering PEMRA’s move to allow cable operators to resume broadcast of specified TV channels 'a plot to divide the media'." Daily Times (Lahore), 9 November 2007. "Suddenly the TV, which had been flashing an annoying 'sorry, the transmission has been interrupted' message all week, burst to life moments ago, the audio blaring BBC World. So Pakistanis can now watch at least some international and domestic channels on their cable networks again." CBC News, 8 November 2007. "Independent TV stations can still be seen on the Internet although, according to a Gallup poll, only 15 per cent of Pakistanis have a connection. ... The BBC World Service has increased the number of its Urdu-language news programmes, which can still be received on the short wave but no longer on FM, as the army closed the FM 103 station on 3 November." Reporters sans frontières, 8 November 2007. "Thursday night in Islamabad, BBC and CNN, along with some of the domestic business news channels, appeared for the first time this week. State TV, meanwhile, has been readily accessible. But all of the popular Pakistani news stations have remained dark. Pakistanis with satellite access can still watch the news, but the number who own dishes is extremely small. And the government has been trying to keep it that way. A headline Wednesday in the independent newspaper the Nation read: 'Hands off democracy. Hands off our dish antennas.' Earlier this week, the government closed down satellite-system retailers and wholesalers across the country. 'They're even checking the houses where they use satellite dishes and removing them.'" Washington Post, 9 November 2007. This story from a Washington based newspaper does not mention the Urdu broadcasts from Washington based VOA, which could be heard all along via cross-border medium wave and shortwave. "'They have been selling like hot cakes,' says Saboor, a satellite dish dealer in Islamabad.", 9 November 2007. "Geo TV — the most popular of the independent TV stations that started hitting the airwaves in 2002 — has always transmitted news to Dubai via satellite and maintained facilities there, in part, owner Imran Aslam said, 'because we realized there would be a time when, eventually, we would face a situation like this.'" AP, 9 November 2007. Blackout includes India-Pakistan cricket series, via Geo TV., 8 November 2007.