Pakistan Tv channels trying to report the episode in which shoes were thrown at the nation’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, in Birmingham at the weekend were censored.
GEO TV and ARY News had just broadcast the report on Sunday when their shows were obstructed, sparking widespread protests on either side of the matter.
When some cable operators refused to pay attention to the ban, gunmen fired at their staff and offices. The offices of two cable operators in Karachi were set ablaze by pro-Zardari activists when operators rejected to shut down transmissions of feeds from GEO TV and ARY News.
Newspapers that carried the story, such as Jang and The News were burned.
The broadcasting bans damaged media coverage and details about the relief efforts in response to the floods disaster.
Meanwhile, violence against journalists has escalated in current weeks. In an unrelated incident, GEO News reporter Anwar Kamal and his driver were shot by assailants who opened fire on their vehicle in Hyderabad, Sindh province on 24 July.
Two days later, attackers threw grenades and opened fire on a home in the Bajaur tribal region linked to tv correspondent Zafarullah Bonari, who works for ARY One World Television and Al-Jazeera. Bonari was not in the home, having moved to Peshawar because he felt he was in threat.
And on 22 July, Sarfraz Wistro, media reporter for the Daily Ibrat, was beaten unconscious by five men near his home in Hyderabad.
These incidents make a nonsense of yesterday’s media conference state by the nation’s minister for information and broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira, that the present government believes in free media.
He explained that reports about the blocking of transmissions were unfounded. “The govt does not believe in imposing a curb on the media,” he included.