Three television news channels — Abb Tak, 24 News, and Capital TV — were forced off the air, drawing condemnation from a journalist union.
The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) on Monday said that a complaint has been lodged by three of its members against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for "taking their channels off air from cable networks without giving them a hearing". Najam Sethi, who appears on 24 News as an analyst also tweeted that the orders to block the channels came from PEMRA.
Regulator PEMRA reportedly pressured the cable operators to block the three channels. The reason for this punishment is said to be their broadcast of Maryam Nawaz's recent presser and the extended coverage of her rally on Sunday.
The association’s President Asif Butt and Secretary Saleem Shaikh said they rejected the PTI government’s anti-media policies and warned of a countrywide strike.
While in a statement the PBA demanded Pemra to "restore these channels immediately and follow its laid down rules in case there was any complaint against these channels or they had violated the code of conduct".
"By not giving them the right of hearing and unilaterally taking them off-air was against all norms of justice and threatened freedom of expression," added the statement.
The regulatory authority had said that the unedited live telecast of Maryam's speech "against the judiciary and state institutions" was in violation of Pemra's laws, code of conduct and the Supreme Court's orders.