Three Pakistani news channels were taken off air in many cities across the country on Monday, prompting PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz to term the incident as "unbelievable fascism" and a "shame."
"Unbelievable fascism. Shame," Maryam, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tweeted.
Reportedly, as per the orders of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), three news channels - Channel-24, Abb Takk and Capital TV - have been put off air for showing a live speech of Maryam.
"Three news channels #Channel24 #AbbTakk #Capital have been put off air forcibly for showing live speech of @MaryamNSharif a day after she released video in which Accountability judge Arshad Malik admitted he was blackmailed to convict Nawaz Sharif #Pakistan #censorship #ImranKhan," Pakistan Media Watch tweeted.
Capital TV also said that PEMRA had ordered the shutdown of transmission of its news channel and two others for an "unidentified period of time without prior notice."
"Capital TV taken off air, PEMRA not responding! We have been informed that Capital TV''s transmission has already been taken off air in many cities across Pakistan," the news channel tweeted.
Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman and Channel 24 anchor Najam Sethi also took to his Twitter handle saying, "Reportedly upon orders from PEMRA, our Channel 24 is being taken off air across the country by cable operators. So too Abtak and Capital TV. Reason: Coverage of Maryam Nawaz presser and jalsa last three days."
The blackout came after a purported video released by Maryam Nawaz on July 6 showed Accountability Court judge Arshad Malik telling a PML-N worker that there was a lack of evidence against Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case and he confessed he had been "pressurised and blackmailed" to convict her father in the Al-Azizia reference, Dawn reported.
Nawaz Sharif is currently serving a seven-year prison term in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail in connection with the case.
PEMRA had earlier issued notices to 21 TV channels for "unedited live telecast" of Maryam's explosive press conference in Lahore.
While the judge had decried the video as being fake, Maryam later told party workers during a rally that her father is "paying the price for raising voice in the public's favour."
On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the judiciary should take notice of the purported video of the accountability judge released by the PML-N leaders.
Previously on July 1 an interview of former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari conducted by country's senior journalist Hamid Mir was taken off air on Geo News channel within a few minutes of broadcasting. The incident took place against the backdrop of Zardari''s arrest in a multi-million dollar money laundering case.