LAHORE – The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has prohibited all satellite TV channels from covering the operation at Faizabad live, also restricting the social networking websites including Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.
Many users reported a “total blackout”, while others only experienced issues with some features – including logging in to both the website and its mobile app, sending messages and posting status.
The authority has warned against live coverage of the Faizabad sit-in stating under Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015, live coverage of any security operation is prohibited.
A statement issued later on Saturday stated TV channels are advised to exhibit utmost sensitivity regarding the matter and refrain from live coverage.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF SIT-IN AT FAIZ-E-ABAD, ISLAMABAD pic.twitter.com/YqEGTWpFIR
— Report PEMRA (@reportpemra) November 25, 2017
The electronic media watchdog also advised media houses to ensure safety and security of their field staff.
According to a PEMRA spokesperson, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has directed the regulatory authority to suspend transmission of all private news channels, on the request of Islamabad administration.
State-run Pakistan Television continued to broadcast, but aired a talk show discussing politics.
PEMRA took the decision after the channels started live coverage of the operation that led to difficulties in carrying out full throttle action.
The official word came amidst a grand operation by Islamabad police, with the help of Frontier Constabulary personnel and other law enforcement agencies, against protesters who had camped out at the Faizabad Interchange since November 8.
The crackdown which is currently underway was launched after the last of a long series of deadlines lapsed on Saturday morning without a response from the agitating parties.
Roughly 8,500 elite police and paramilitary troops in riot gear are taking part in the clearance operation, which was launched soon after the final deadline of 7am given to protesters expired.
— Sheikh Sajid (@sheikh_sajid) November 25, 2017
‘Crackdown’ on social media
Social media users complained of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube being inaccessible to the general public amidst crackdown.
Chief Justice of Pakistan must take notice of ban on private TV channels PML-N Govt took action without differentiating between good and bad
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) November 25, 2017
Long live Pakistan brand of democracy. https://t.co/lLQnCNEINe
— Khawar Ghumman (@Ghummans) November 25, 2017
If they are banning the social media and turning off news transmissions how tf will we know what’s happening
— bby nugget (@SohaTazz) November 25, 2017
PMLN Govt silenced all private media channels in #Islamabad.This action will now allow more speculation over social media.
— Javeria Siddique (@javerias) November 25, 2017