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Media authority threatens closure of television station for covering judicial crisis, warns all private stations against negative coverage of judiciary, army, or state

(PPF/IFEX) - The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has served a show-cause notice on private television channel Aaj TV for airing news, talk shows and other programmes on the judicial crisis in Pakistan and threatened the channel with closure.

The notice issued on 22 April 2007 said that the TV channel had violated the PEMRA Ordinance by covering an issue pending with the Supreme Judicial Council.

The notice said that the channel had also failed to produce a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the External Publicity Wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which was required for the processing of short-term up-linking licence.

According to press reports, PEMRA has warned all private TV channels not to air programmes casting aspersions on the judiciary or "integrity of the armed forces of Pakistan". The organization also warned against airing contents that are likely to encourage and incite violence, or contain anything against the preservation of law and order, or promote anti-national or anti-state attitudes.

PEMRA has asked the chief executive officer of Aaj TV to reply within three days or face legal action.

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