Geo TV returning to air after Pak military deal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 20, 2018

Geo TV returning to air after Pak military deal

Pakistan's largest TV station has been allowed back on the air at some major cable operators after talks with the military on demands it make changes in political coverage, two officials who work for the channel's media group told Reuters on Wednesday.

After Geo TV, Pakistan's most popular station, was taken off the air across much of the country at the end of March, military representatives pressed the channel to cease favourable coverage of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and stop any criticism of the Supreme Court and the "establishment", according to the two people, who had knowledge of the negotiations.

The "establishment" is a commonly used euphemism for the military in Pakistan.

Written instructions by Geo management to staff last week that were reviewed by Reuters spelled out "key editorial points that we have to manage and implement" to be restored to the airwaves.

Besides banning negative portrayals of the "establishment" and any allegations the Supreme Court might be interfering in politics, the instructions said there should be no reports on Nawaz Sharif's ongoing corruption trial "that helps build a narrative that he and his children are innocent".

The two sources, employees of The Jang Group of Newspapers, Geo's parent company, said the company had reluctantly agreed to most of the military's demands, although there was no final deal confirmed and the situation was in flux.

"As for the deal or tough conditions, we are following them and Geo has been restored. That restoration is the result of obeying those dictations," one of the sources said on Wednesday.

Geo TV Network President Imran Aslam declined to answer questions about any military involvement in the shutdown or whether any deal had been made or was in the works.

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