news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | June 7, 2014 | 9:01 AM IST 

Pakistan on Friday suspended the licence of Geo News for 15 days for defaming the army and its ISI, a day after Geo News decided to sue authorities for maligning its image and demanded a public apology along with Rs 50 billion as damages.

The suspension was announced by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). It also demanded the channel to pay Rs 10 million as fine. PEMRA said in a statement that the suspension of the license shall continue if the fine is not paid. The meeting was held to address a complaint filed by Ministry of Defence against Geo News that named Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and its chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam as being responsible for the attack on leading journalist Hamid Mir. 

The Defence ministry had demanded that the licence of  Geo News should remain be suspended after it reported that the ISI was behind the attack. The whole controversy erupted after Mir's brother accused that "certain elements" in the ISI and its chief of orchestrating the attack. This charge was denied by the Pak military.

The channel and its group on May 26 apologized Pakistan's armed forces and the ISI for the allegations. But the move to suspend came a day after the Jang group, which owns Geo News sent a a legal notice on the Ministry of Defence, the ISI and PEMRA for defaming and maligning the group by accusing it of working on an anti-Pakistan agenda. They even allege that there has been pressure on the cable operators to black out Geo channels.

Geo News on a social platform put up the following message after the recent developments: 

"Although we don’t agree with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) decision to suspend our license for 15 days, we are going to shut down our transmission out of respect for law," said Geo News on Friday few hours after the media watchdog's decision.

"We have received a letter from PEMRA asking us to shut down the channel. We are shutting down the channel and say goodbye to you out of respect for law despite the fact that we don’t agree with the decision," said Geo News.

Geo News has been shut down despite government’s repeated assurances that the channel would not be taken off the air.

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