Pakistan’s most popular television channel is under attack

Apr 19, 2018

Live or let die?

RANA JAWAD pinches the bridge of his nose. For much of the past month the director of news at Geo TV, Pakistan’s most popular channel, has marshalled his team of correspondents in the knowledge that broadcasts of their work have been mysteriously cut in most of the country. Post-it notes scrawled with frowny faces stick to his office window, requesting unpaid salaries. “We are already in the grave, with one hand sticking out,” he says.

The blackout began in late March. Many of Pakistan’s 73m-odd cable subscribers began to complain that they could no longer watch Geo’s offerings. Not only had Geo News disappeared, but so had sports and entertainment channels (upsetting fans of the Indian soap operas they carry). Viewership of the news fell by 70% in the fortnight to April 15th, according to official figures. That was not all. Newspapers owned by Jang group, the conglomerate behind Geo, went undelivered. At the company’s offices in Karachi, city...

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