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Geo TV's apology should be accepted: Pervaiz Rashid

23 May, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Thursday that the apology of Geo Network over alleged blasphemy on one of its morning shows should be accepted, and urged the television channel to act responsibly in the future.

Speaking to media persons after inquiring about the health of Geo TV anchorperson Hamid Mir Thursday, Pervaiz Rashid said he had resisted closure of channels in the past and still sticks to his stance. He said if the Geo TV or any other channel made a mistake and extended apology, it should not go off-air.

He added that if any channel makes a mistake and tenders an apology over its mistake, it should be accepted and the matter should not prolonged, keeping in view other issues facing the country. The minister said it was not a matter of Geo, but the issue of freedom of expression in the democratic society.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday sought an answer from the federal government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in relation to the petition filed by the Geo TV Network.

A three-judge apex court bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, heard the case over the petition requesting the court to halt what it termed a hate campaign and provocations against it. During the hearing, Justice Jawwad said that if anyone had reservations regarding the constitution of the bench then they should inform the court.

He said the federal government should inform in the case there were any reservations against him or any other judge hearing the case. Upon which, Additional Attorney General Khawaja Ahmed Hussain said that he had no information about the issue. Geo's Attorney Akram Sheikh expressed his reservations, saying that he felt harassed while taking up the case.

The petition by the Independent Media Corporation that runs Geo TV had asked the court to issue directives to restrain all channels including Geo from airing allegations against other channels or media groups. The court had been requested to issue directives for consolidation of all FIRs that might have been registered in various parts of the country and to restrain the registration of any new case, but to forward all pending and new FIRs containing allegations of blasphemy before the SC for eventual quashing of proceedings on them.

On May 16, the PEMRA had served a show cause notice on the Geo Entertainment network for airing objectionable content in its morning show `Utho Jago Pakistan' and sought immediate explanation from the channel.


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