Authorities restore news channels, social media

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Sunday said it had ordered restoration of access to social media hours after interactive platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, were taken down by the government.

People in many areas, however, were unable to access social media platforms. 

Earlier, Pakistan's electronic media regulator (Pemra) had ordered all news channels off air, and also barred live coverage of the Islamabad sit-in. News channels were also instructed to ensure the security of their staff during the ongoing law and order situation across the nation.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the transmissions of television channels have been restored in pursuance of the directive of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi.

"Suspending the transmissions was a tough and painful decision, which had to be taken in the national interest after exhaustive deliberations with a view to prevent the spread of chaos and anarchy in the country," the minister said in a statement.

"Ensuring freedom of expression is the obligation of the state but using its responsibly is a far greater responsibility."

Pemra had on Saturday barred media from live coverage of the Islamabad Operation under ‘Media Code of Conduct 2015’ and instructed to show “utmost sensitivity” and refrain from coverage of the operation.

“This channel is suspended on orders of Pemra,” read a message appearing on multiple news channels.

The PBA had strongly condemned the closure of news channels by the government. The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and other journalist bodies also expressed concern over the sudden closure of TV channels transmission.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt