Netizens are slamming the incumbent government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for suspending ARY News, that too mid-transmission.
The transmission of ARY News was suspended in different parts of the country on Monday evening following the orders of PEMRA to the cable operators. It was also suspended in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, and other cities.
Read more: PML-N govt bars access to ARY?
According to the details, ARY was suspended after the channel reported that the incumbent PML-N-led government has allegedly activated its strategic media cell to malign PTI and its chairman Imran Khan. It also has been building a narrative to prove PTI as an anti-armed forces power. The report on PML-N activating its media cell turned out to be true.
— Salman Iqbal ARY (@Salman_ARY) August 8, 2022
Netizens slam government
Needless to say, ARY getting suspended for airing an expose on the government is sparking a strong reaction from civil society. The journalistic community has, of course, condemned the suspension as it is against freedom of speech, however, the majority of the public, along with PTI, is calling out the government for what is being considered a “fascist move.”
In a statement, PFUJ President Afzal Butt demanded the PEMRA to immediately restore ARY News transmission and warned of countrywide protests if the transmission was not restored within 24 hours.
پی ایف یو جے کے صدر افضل بٹ و سیکرٹری جنرل ارشد انصاری نے اے آر وائی ٹی وی چینل کی نشریات بند کرنے کی شدید مذمت کرتے ہوے مطالبہ کیا ہے کہ فوری طور پر چینل کی نشریات بحال کی جائیں بصورت دیگر ملک گیر احتجاج کیا جائے گا۔@IFJGlobal @OfficialKUJ
— PFUJ Official (@OfficialPfuj) August 8, 2022
Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas condemned PEMRA’s decision to suspend ARY which is against its own rules and regulations. Mazhar Abbas stated that instead of suspending the channel, the matter should have been taken to the Council of Complaints.
Meanwhile, journalist Matiullah Jan – who is often at odds with PTI – agreed with Mazhar Abbas that the suspension of ARY without warning as per law is condemnable.
Yes, the suspension of transmission of ARY without warning or notice as per the law is condemnable. PEMRA apparent invocation of Sec 30 (3) is unfair and unreasonable and amounts to breach of basic principle of justice that no one should be condemned unheard. https://t.co/yz1TIsAB34 pic.twitter.com/mYEH1OBiRu
— Matiullah Jan (@Matiullahjan919) August 8, 2022
On the other hand, several PTI leaders including Shireen Mazari, Shahbaz Gill, and others took to Twitter and condemned PEMRA’s illegal act.
This is now on my screen instead of ARY! pic.twitter.com/z30BAiXlrV
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 8, 2022
پی ٹی سی ایل سمارٹ ٹی وی پر اے آر وائی کی نشریات بند pic.twitter.com/hjqku2DPjh
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) August 8, 2022
When you run out of logic and arguments, just ban it. Typical stupidity of a fascist govt#RestoreARYNews
— Dr Arslan Khalid (@arslankhalid_m) August 8, 2022
Instead of creating vile and dirty campaign through your media cell, and then taking off the biggest channel of Pakistan, the imported govt should have putted this much effort in providing relief to masses. But they resorted to these shameful tactics! #RestoreARYNews pic.twitter.com/cMGozDaA8R
— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 8, 2022
Moreover, #RestoreARYNews has become one of the top Twitter trends in Pakistan as netizens voice support for ARY and demand its restoration.
Pakistan's biggest news network take off the air for exposing Maryam's media & its attempt to politicize lasbela crash to distract people from its own failings as the imposed regime. PDM and its facilitators need to realize that eventually, this will backfire too. #RestoreARYNews
— Asfandyar Bhittani (@BhittaniKhannnn) August 8, 2022
Important to note that ever since PML-N came into power, ARY has been suspended more than once for being critical of the government and for its active media coverage of PTI. ARY is also one of Pakistan’s most popular media channels.
Interestingly, the suspension of ARY News transmission is a clear violation of Islamabad High Court (IHC) orders which barred PEMRA from closure and relegation of ARY News to lower numbers on TV channels sequence.