November 16, 2007 / 9:24 PM / 12 years ago

Pakistan's private Geo TV says forced to shut down

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistan’s private Geo television network, ordered off air during President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency rule, said on Saturday it had been forced to close down altogether after it was ordered to halt transmissions via the United Arab Emirates.

Geo, Pakistan’s biggest television network, has offices and studios in Dubai Media City, from where it broadcasts news.

“We have been told by the (Dubai) Media City that our transmission will be shut down,” Imran Aslam, president of Geo News, told Reuters. “This is all I can say at the moment.”

No one at Dubai Media City was immediately available for comment.

Local and international television channels disappeared from cable television in Pakistan amid media curbs imposed by military ruler Musharraf on November 3, which ban reporting which humiliates the presidency, military or government.

Some channels have since resumed broadcasts, but Geo has refused to agree to a new government media code.

The television network has challenged the government’s curbs in the High Court in Sindh province. The next hearing is due on November 20.

The media have flourished since Musharraf seized power in a bloodless 1999 coup, but the feisty private media that grew up during his rule have been highly critical of him since he tried to sack the country’s chief justice in March.

Musharraf has accused some television channels of adding to the uncertainty that led him to impose emergency rule — which critics say was solely aimed at trying to hold on to power.

Reporting by Faisal Aziz, editing by Simon Gardner

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