News channels across Pakistan back on air after 28-hour blackout

PEMRA had ordered to take all news channels off air on Saturday


ISLAMABAD: News channels across Pakistan were restored 28 hours after they were taken off air at the behest of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Sunday.

The regulatory body had ordered the restoration of all news channels on Sunday after the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, National History & Literary Heritage had written a letter to PEMRA to withdraw its earlier directives. 

PEMRA notification to restore news channels across the country on Sunday. Photo: Geo News

"PEMRA will only take off-air those channels TV channels which continue to violate the PEMRA Laws, Code of Conduct 2015, Directives, Determinations and Guidelines issued by the Authority regarding the audio-visual coverage of [the] Faizabad sit-in and related demonstrations all over the country," the letter said. 

Sources informed Geo News that a summary has been approved by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the transmissions will be restored by Sunday evening. 

Prior to this decision, PEMRA had directed news channels to ensure the security of their staff while a tense security situation persisted across the country.

The regulatory body had earlier barred media from live coverage of the Islamabad Operation under Media Code of Conduct 2015.

In a press release, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) had strongly condemned the unilateral closure of news channels by the government. 

The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) also expressed concern over the sudden closure of television channels and their transmission.