ASIA/PAKISTAN - Eleven Christian TV channels declared "illegal": attack on religious freedom

Monday, 10 October 2016

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - A recent order issued by the "Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority", a body of the Pakistani government, declared 11 Christian television channels broadcasting in Pakistan in Urdu illegal. As learned by Fides, the order, issued on September 22, reports "unauthorized TV" and cites 10 cable channels or web managed by Protestant Christian groups as Isaac TV, Gawahi TV, God Bless TV, Barkat TV, Praise TV, Zindagi TV, Shine TV, Jesus TV, Healing TV, Khushkhabari TV, as well as Catholic TV, Diocesan Catholic network in Lahore. "All the Regional Directors General - says the order - are invited to take the necessary steps to immediately stop the illegal transmission of TV channels in their respective regions".
Fr. Mushtaq Anjum, Pakistani Camillian religious who is interested in communication and the media, told Fides: "The proclamation of the Good News is considered illegal. For some years now, with great efforts, Christian communities have organized television networks, cable or web, to talk to Christians and to speak of the Christian faith. Christians have no place in public television channels. We want to understand why they are called illegal. This is another discriminatory law that affects non-Muslims".
"We demand the intervention of Christian Federal Minister Kamran Michael - continues the priest - because this is a real attack on the freedom to practice one’s religion. It is also an attack on the vision of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinah, who imagined a free society and not an Islamic country. Instead, in doing so, it continues to treat members of religious minorities as second-class citizens. "The religious Camillian asks the government to "stop these acts of intimidation and cancel such prohibition". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/10/2016)