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International | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons

Satellite Channels, Blogs, Criticize Musharraf
by juan cole (reposted)
Monday Nov 19th, 2007 6:45 AM
From a Monday, November 19, 2007 entry on Informed Comment, Juan Cole's blog

Satellite Channels, Blogs, Criticize Musharraf

The USG Open Source Center surveys electronic media in and about Pakistan, reporting on the situation with regard to closure or blocking of television channels, as well as making remarks toward the end on Pakistani blog sites. In other news, on Sunday Gen Pervez Musharraf rejected US calls for him to end the state of emergency before holding elections.


Pakistan Media Behavior 18 Nov; Blogger Says Musharraf 'Should Be Hanged' . . .
Pakistan -- OSC Summary
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Electronic Media

As of 1800 GMT on 18 November, Pakistan's state-run Islamabad PTV News in English and Urdu carries normal programming along with news and current affair shows, with analysts and officials analyzing the situation following the declaration of the state of emergency by President Gen Pervez Musharraf on 3 November. The channel offers circumspect coverage to clashes between the security forces and militants in Swat and between the security forces and rival groups in Parachinar. In addition, the channel continuously shows ads by Punjab Government highlighting the achievements of the provincial government, with a message by Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi. The provincial Punjab Assembly stands dissolved and Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi is no more the incumbent chief minister as of this time. The channel's website ( www. ptvworldnews. com. pk) provides updated news in both English and Urdu.

Two major Urdu-language news channels Karachi Geo News TV and Karachi ARY One World have been shut down and their transmission has been put off air. However, live transmission of Geo remains available via internet ( www. geo. tv).

Earlier, the government had blocked the cable transmission of these two channels, along with others, across Pakistan. Only the domestic audience with access to satellite dishes was watching these channels. The domestic audience largely uses cable to watch private TV channels and most do not have access to satellite dishes. In addition, the government has imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of satellite dishes besides the equipment used in the fabrication of satellite dishes.

Foreign news channels that are available include CNN, BBC World, Sky News and Fox News while Al-Jazeera still remains unavailable.

Domestic news channels -- Aaj TV in Urdu, Karachi Dawn News in English, CNBC Pakistan, Business Plus, Indus News, TV One, and Punjabi news and entertainment station APNA Channel -- remain available through cable transmission.

Karachi Geo News TV in Urdu -- 24-hour satellite news TV channel owned by Pakistan's Jang publishing group, broadcast from Dubai -- has been shut down and its transmission put off air. However, the channel's website www. geo. tv remains available and the channel continues to offer its live streaming video via on its website (as a link). In addition, the live streaming audio link, unavailable as of 1730 GMT on 17 November, is observed to have become available. The Geo TV blog at http: //67.59. 144.177 /blog is observed to have received 1,638 comments since 17 November.

Karachi ARY One World in Urdu -- Dubai-based 24-hour news channel -- has been ordered shut down. The channel, however, continues to air its slogans and promotional videos.

Karachi Aaj TV in Urdu -- digital satellite channel of the Business Recorder Group, which broadcasts directly to the AsiaSat satellite with a footprint of over 60 countries -- continues to cover the current developments, focusing on journalists protests against the closure of private TV channels, along with showing normal programming. Aaj TV
website ( www. aaj. tv) remains available, offering news updates as text. Live streaming video and audio links on the channel's website are observed to have become dysfunctional. (omitting "and live streaming audio of its broadcasts" in the first line of the paragraph)

Link of the website's blog in English ( http://aaj. tv/ blog) remains available, with one comment reading: "Musharraf should be hanged in public. (omitting double quotation marks here) Army role in politics must be finished forever."

Karachi Dawn News in English -- Pakistan's first 24-hour English language TV channel owned by the Dawn Group of Newspapers -- continues to provide coverage of post-emergency situation, protests of journalists, lawyers and political parties and situation in Swat besides showing an editorial ad that criticizes the government in a soft tone for shutting down private TV channels. Like PTV News (rendering source name in italics), Dawn News continuously shows ads by Punjab Government highlighting the achievements of the now dissolved provincial government.

The channel is observed to have launched its own website -- http://www. dawnnews. tv -- offering updated news, linked on the website of Karachi Dawn ( www. dawn. com), the most widely read English-language daily. The live streaming video link (mms://dawn.tvpakistan.com/dawnnews ) and the live (streaming audio link ) can now be accessed through the channel's own website -- http://www. dawnnews. tv.

Internet Websites of major English-language Pakistani newspapers -- including the influential Islamabad The News ( www.thenews. com. pk ), the most widely read Karachi Dawn ( www.dawn.com) . . .
are accessible and updating regularly.

Urdu Blogs

Postings on www. urduweb. org/ planet -- the assembly of Urdu bloggers -- continue to show harsh criticism of President Musharraf for imposing emergency and closing private TV channels.

Iftikhar Ajmal at http:// iftikharajmal. urdutech. com continues to post pictures of protesters being manhandled by the police during antigovernment protests.

English Blogs

The most reputed Pakistani blog by Adam Najam ( www. pakistaniat. com) continues to receive hundreds of comments and thousands of "views" on its postings relating to the closure of private TV channels, the arrest of political leader Imran Khan, and the imposition of emergency.

Another reputed blog ( www. politicalpakistan. blogspot .com) lists as the new heroes of Pakistan Talat Husain, Mushtaq Minhas, and Nusrat Javed of Aaj TV, whose programs are observed to have been put off air since Aaj TV resumed its transmission.