17 November, 2007

UAE shuts down Pakistan's most popular TV channels

Pakistan’s premier Urdu news channels were shut down at 1 a.m. Pakistan time (12 midnight Dubai time) after Pakistani miltary dictator Pervez Musharraf put tremendous pressure on UAE to silence media outlets which had refused to bow down..!

Both GEO TV and ARY TV were stationed in Dubai Media City...

There is a big question mark on DMC's creditability!

23 comments:

Keefieboy said...

This sucks.

hemlock said...

tragic. if only these channels had conducted themselves more responsibly... things wouldnt have come so far.

John B. Chilton said...

This is interesting. Do we have more documentation? Have the local news outlets in the UAE reported?

Seabee said...

The BBC World Service has been broadcasting this story, with someone (I missed who it was) being interviewed talking about Dubai Media City, loss of credibility, companies would re-think whether to open here etc.

Another international story not doing much good for Brand Dubai.

Seabee said...

John, Khaleej Times website has a short piece, with no mention of Dubai. Gulf News site has a fuller report.

Chaudhry said...

A dictator's best friend is another dictator. And this is an absolute example. All this explanation of neutrality in Gulf News is a complete BS. UAE companies (u know who the owners are) have stakes in Pakistan. Etish*t being one example who bought the state run telecommunication company there, Another company from Abu Dhabi has Cell phone operations and there are so many bling bling construction projects and stuff. So basically, to me, or anyone who cares to do a bit of a research, its a mere example of "You scratch my back (in your sheikdom) and i scratch yours (in my militarydom)". Had these TV channels invested their millions of dollars in some democratic country, they would have never been asked to shutdown their operations on just 2 HOURS NOTICE in such a ridiculous fashion. Here goes the BRAND DUBAI.
I, as someone who moved to United States with my Parents when i was a kid, am not usually bothered by anything that happens back there but in last few days, the extra ordinary interest of my parents to the TV and News was something that got me into it. Its interesting to know that these channels up link their signals to the satellite from Dubai, primarily for their international audience. In Pakistan, these channels have been blocked on cable already ever since general Musharraf suspended the constitution on Nov. 3rd. and have house arrested 12 independent minded, Respectable Supreme Court Judges along with thousands and thousands of lawyers, human rights activists and members of civil society. The look on my old parents face since yesterday is just something that i can't even describe. Earlier, they were sad for their family and friends in Pakistan who have been deprived of any right to know whats going on in their own country but at the same time, sort of satisfied that at least they know whats happening because they are out of that dictator's reach. But now Its unbelievable. Even though they don't live there anymore but still, they can't escape the wrath of this mindless dictator who can intrude our living rooms anytime and block them from watching anything that doesn't suit him. As I said earlier, almost 99% of the audience benefited from DMC up link operations of these channels, lives in Europe, North America, East Asia, and Middle East. And NONE these governments requested for it except ONE DICTATOR.....

hemlock said...

@ JBC: channels shut down
UAE in talks with channels

@ chaudhry: musharraf liberalised the media, and brought about the much needed stability and investor confidence in pakistan. unfortunately, media, for one, couldnt handle that freedom. Geo had becoming a hype-creating machine, comprising less fact more drama. i can say that because ive been associated very closely with the pakistani media for over six years.

nov 3. when emergency was imposed, one english daily came out with the headline "IT IS MARTIAL LAW". the paper is still VERY MUCH in circulation.

granted musharraf's measures (to suspend the constitution) were desperate and uncalled for, but lets not nullify his inputs in the last 8 years.

etisalat & emaar are in pakistan because the environment was conducive for high returns. that means stability + markets.

having spent most of your life outside pakistan, you obviously have very little idea of the mess the "civilian" governments created. this is hardly a time to give you "history of pakistan: 101" but please, if you havent got anything intelligent to say, then dont say anything at all.

nick said...

hemlock,

One is either serious about deomcracy or not, period. Democracy doesn't do 'suspension of constitution by military’ - which might as well spell the end of it.

If Musharraf's interest were indeed to "protect the democratic process" then shutting down independent media is a wonderful way of proving his point, correct?
Funny that. Sounds so much like what Saddam Hussein, and Assad and other 'democratic' leaders in this part of world were/are doing.

Let's call a spade a spade, shall we? The man has no regard for democracy whilst at the same time he is the lesser of many evils, first and foremost the Islamists. This is the only reason he got away with his actions past and present.

That’s clear then?

But then again, Pakistan is not ready for democracy.
Considering the alternatives I bizarrely end up supporting what Musharraf does.

TwinTopaz said...

Banned channels are now considering to move out from Dubai!

Details

i*maginate said...

*Nick, what's the alternative to musharraf? wanna discuss it over a croissant @ french bakery on the way to work tomorrow?

hemlock said...

nick,
when did i remotely allude to the fact that mush was serious about bringing democracy to pakistan?

unfortunate as it sounds, i agree with you that pakistan has few alternatives.
constant meddling of the army, very little accountability and a stronghold of feudals has resulted in a 60-yr old country deprived of a structure that supports democracy.

musharraf and america are BOTH supporting the return of benazir, who has been charged for corruption not once, but twice. it's tragic to think that she's the best option the country has. if youve already appointed the next leader, that incidently the people DONT want, where is democracy?

under his "dictatorial" regime, the national assemblies [elected] survived their five year tenure - something that hasnt happened in my lifetime. democratic or not, it's an achievement.

if this was the only way stability couldve been ensured, then i support it. we've seen pakistan return from the verge of defaulting on international loans in 1999, to the opening of porsche, bmw and ferrari outlets all over the country. (transaltion: people are better off today than they were a decade ago)

i hate to remind you, but at least under saddam, iraq wasnt being torn into pieces. do you SERIOUSLY think the war on iraq has benefitted ANYONE except donald rumsfeld?

democracy died the day musharraf was legitimised by the US. but it suited them just fine then, cuz they needed a base from where they could attack afghanistan. all this talk by US/UK/FCUK about democracy is bullshit.

as per pakistan's constitution, mush shouldve been hanged in 1999 for the subversion of the constitution.

lets call a spade a spade: he's the best thing to have happened to the country. if it werent for him, the GEOs and the ARYs wouldnt even BE there

el said...

"democracy died the day musharraf was legitimised by the US."

No democracy in Pakistan. Guess whose fault it is, boys...

"mush shouldve been hanged in 1999 for the subversion ..."

Errm...by who, exactly? Justice Chaudhury?

"if it werent for him, the GEOs and the ARYs wouldnt even BE there..."

...and now they're not there, so everything's fine once again. Down with independent media!

nick said...

i*maginate,

The alternatives are a cricketer with a beautiful airhead ex-wife, a corrupt scion of a corrupt dynasty, and the Islamists. Hurraay.

Give me Musharraf any day. He's got a neat haircut. He can't be a mad mullah.
We are great at closing both eyes when it comes to western-leaning despots!

(And, no thanks. Some other time maybe.)

hemlock,

when did i remotely allude to the fact that mush was serious about bringing democracy to pakistan?

You didn’t, he did. Apparently he is doing everything he can in order to “protect the democratic process”. I love the subtle irony.
Having said that, see my comment above. A despot the West can deal with is better than the Islamists in power. We might even ‘believe’ his declarations about democratic process.


i hate to remind you, but at least under saddam, iraq wasnt being torn into pieces. do you SERIOUSLY think the war on iraq has benefitted ANYONE except donald rumsfeld?

Sure, it’s difficult to start an uprising when you’re hanging upside down by your balls in a dungeon or your village is being gassed. Iraq wasn’t torn to pieces because it was handcuffed and shackled and gagged and tied up with flex.

I don’t think you can lump Saddam and Musharraf together by any stretch of the imagination.
Assad maybe.

Mars said...

were they really Pakistan's most popular TV channels?

clayfuture said...

Well contrary to what most people think is going on in pakistan.. its still peaceful, that's what my friends and family living back home have told me. People are going around doing their business and all like its normal. Yeah the state of emergency thing is not good for the economy as a whole, but its pretty normal.. except for a few hostile elements (the politicians!!) trying to create unrest!

DUBAI JAZZ said...

So Nick, democracy is no good, is it?

Freedom of speech will do nobody no good either.

Musharraf is a 'good guy', he helps to keep the bad 'unkempt' Islamists away from the nukes.

But I am wondering though: if the Pakistani people want the Islamists to rule, why wouldn't the US support their democratic choice?

I am personally waiting for the resurgence of Russia.

i*maginate said...

*nick, it was more of a rhetorical question ;-) Ok then about french bakery *weep*

I agree with wot most people are saying here.

At the end of the day it's not really democracy that should be the order of the day in Pakistan, it should really be a restoration of peace and order especially amongst those causing the unrest now...no one can keep them at bay better than Musharraf, who's evidently keeping the wrong people away from the nuclear button.

Benazir did nothing for women's rights whilst in power. Imran Khan didn't register a vote for any laws on women's rights. Musharraf is the only one who has improved women's rights in power.

The reason ARY and GEO TV have been shut down is to contain the excitement amongst fantatics and prevent them from hurling the country into more unrest.

So, either you have a democracy and keep the stations open, simulataneously encouraging a dangerous mullah uprising, or you shut them down indirectly taking steps towards a democracy.

Benazir has looted the country of billions of dollars and has recently been officially convicted by a Swiss court. That means if she now visits any country with an extradition treaty with Switzerland, she'll have to go to court.

*dubai jazz, re:"if the Pakistani people want the Islamists to rule, why wouldn't the US support their democratic choice?

If Benazir took power, she'd loot the country again, plunging it into economic disaster, and also the mullahs would rise under her rule: not really a democracy the US would want ;-) Additionally this whole issue is a great PR campaign for the US...

I think the US are quite happy with Musharraf's "dictatorship" democracy @ the moment hehe.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

i*maginate
To be honest; the chaos in pakistan (if happened) is of nobodys' interest. But I really am skeptical that even on the long run, the Americans won't support any genuine drive toward a democracy.

hemlock said...

DJ: chaos in pakistan (if happened), will affect some of us.

el said...

"If Benazir took power, she'd loot the country again, plunging it into economic disaster..."

Ah, now I get it. Musharraf is the best choice right now for Pakistan, and who knows that better than Musharraf himself?

It would be too bad if Pakistani voters didn't realise that, they might vote Benazir right back into power. Now we can't have that, could we? So let's protect the Pakistani voters from their own stupidity...

All in the name of democracy, people...

(Oh, before anyone steps in to remind me...it's all America's fault. I know, I know.)

el said...

"If Benazir took power, she'd..."

Er, took power...how? The way Mushy did, you mean?

Silly me. I keep thinking about voters and rights and franchise and all that. I keep forgetting what's best for Pakistan. (Too damn used to the Indian system. Appopleggies.)

DUBAI JAZZ said...

you got that right hemlock...

Proud Emirati said...

ARY One World channel resumes transmission from Dubai

Nov 22, 2007 - 06:43 -

WAM WAM Dubai, Nov. 22nd, 2007 (WAM) - Dubai Media City (DMC) announced today that ARY One World channel, part of ARY Digital FZ LLC licensed under DMC, has resumed its transmission from Dubai, based on mutual understanding between both parties.

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Executive Director of Media at Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone said ARY Digital's nine channels would continue to be operational from Dubai Media City.

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani also stated that seven TV channels operating under DMC's partner the International Media Corporation (IMC) FZ LLC, are currently transmitting their programmes from Dubai.

She has clarified that resumption of transmission of IMC's 8th channel, GEO NEWS, is pending outcome of its current discussions with the IMC's officials.

Dr. Al Rustamani expressed hope that the matter will soon be resolved cordially, protecting all concerned parties' interests including the broadcaster's while safeguarding the UAE's pragmatic foreign policy.

"Both ARY Digital FZ LLC and International Media Corporation FZ LLC are long standing partners of Dubai Media City and their business interests are of priority to our media cluster," she added.

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