ISLAMABAD – A biggest television news channel apologized on Monday for broadcasting allegations against the premier intelligence agency in an attempt to resolve an issue that increased tensions between the civilian government and the armed forces, The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported on Monday.
“After serious introspection, editorial debates, feedback and engagement with all parties, directly and indirectly, we have concluded that our coverage immediately after the tragic and unnerving attack on Hamid Mir on April 19th was excessive, distressful and emotional," read a front-page notice in Monday's issue of The News newspaper.
The apology added that the coverage that night was misleading, disproportionate and inappropriate. Geo is part of the Jang Media Group, which is owned and run by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. In addition to Geo News and an entertainment channel, the group owns popular Urdu and English language newspapers.
On April 19, TV anchor Hamid Mir was shot and injured by unidentified assailants in Karachi. The channel immediately aired accusations that the attack was carried out by the Inter-Services Intelligence and its chief Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam. In response, the military demanded that the channel be closed by the media regulator for false and scandalous campaign undermining the integrity and tarnishing the image of a state institution and its officers.
The allegations against intelligence, aired over several hours on April 19 by Geo, with a picture of top boss on the screen, sent shock waves through a country. Following the dispute, Geo News was either taken off the air or moved to obscure slots on the channel lineup by the cable operators. It lost significant viewership as a result. There was no immediate response from the military and the media regulator is still considering the complaint.