Who has shut down Geo Super?

Apr 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Geo TV, Jang, PEMRA, The News

If you have not already, please immediately read Cafe Pyala’s brilliant explanation of the PEMRA vs GEO case that unfortunately continues to waste the time and energy of many people. Of the most damaging revalations from this expose is the question who is actually banning Geo Super?

Geo Super Cross OutGeo/Jang Group has consistently accused the government via PEMRA of blocking transmission of Geo Super as a method of retaliation for Jang Group’s constant attacks on the government. But as blogger CPM points out, Geo Super has not been taken off the air, it has simply stopped airing programming. This is why we are subjected to a screen with Jang Group’s new advertisement that shows a red cross over the Geo Super logo. As CPM correctly notes, in order for this to appear on the screen, it must be broadcast. This is clearly not something that the government would be broadcasting, so who is it? It appears to be Geo Super.

Actually, PEMRA has issed show cause notice due to Geo Super’s suspending its own transmission.

Another show cause notice was issued by PEMRA to Geo Super for suspending its satellite transmission since April 5 in contravention to Section 28 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and clause 24.1 (c) of the licence terms and conditions which prohibits any broadcast media or distribution service operator from ceasing or suspending broadcasting.

Therefore the question must be asked, if Geo Super has suspended its own programming – not PEMRA –  then why is it telling people that the government has ordered it to stop transmission?

Geo website claims government ordered to stop transmission

As Cafe Pyala points out, Geo has begun “a campaign to get the citizens of Pakistan to grant them a “public license” to resume broadcast (whatever that may be)”. In fact, this is where the answer may lie.

While it is not clear what Geo means by “public license” – a term they may have invented – the petition features an interesting bit of ‘small print’ next to the demand.

Geo's real goal to broadcast from Pakistan?

If you cannot read the screengrab, the petition says in large letters:

As a Pakistani citizen, sports lover and in national interest I hereby give license* to GEO SUPER to broadcast my country’s first and only sports channel from Pakistan.

Notice the star? If you look below, in smaller letters, it says this:

*I also request the regulator and courts to enable GEO SUPER to broadcast from Pakistan

Ahhhhhh!!!!

As Cafe Pyala correctly mentions, Geo Super is registered in Dubai, and therefore broadcasts via international uplink. This is confirmed by the APP article explaining (a bit late) PEMRA’s position.

In this regard, it is clarified that Geo Super is up-linking its transmission from Dubai and is authorised to market and distribute only in Pakistan though a local company i.e. ‘M/s Birds Pvt Ltd’. The channel management has suspended its transmission at its own since April 5, and has launched a baseless media campaign against the regulator alleging for banning its transmission which is factually incorrect.

Geo Super continues to broadcast, only it has suspended the transmission of usual programming and replaced it with a crossed out Geo Super logo and begun a campaign that appears to demand fair treatment for Geo, but is actually asking the public to force the regulators and courts to gran Geo a domestic uplink.

Is this all a game by Jang Group/Geo to blackmail the government into providing it a license to uplink domestically without following proper protocols and regulations? Geo supporters claim that the government has banned Geo Super transmission to hurt Jang Group financially as revenge for critical reporting. But it has been shown that the government has not banned Geo Super transmission, therefore this explanation cannot be true.

The story that is unfolding appears to expose a disturbing possibility – that a media group, confident in its ability to sway public opinion, is attempting to pressurise government agencies and the courts to grant it special privileges. Such a scheme would not be necessary to ensure programming reaches the people, rather it would be a direct assault on the authority of the government and the courts and a power grab by media owners.

Just as the government should not interfere with media, media should not attempt to interfere with government also. This story should be watched closely as it appears there could be more to what is going on than is being truthfully reported.

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