License of Bol TV, Pakistani Network Dogged by Scandal, Is Revoked

General, World News

Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, the chief executive and one of the directors of the company, was arrested and is out on bail.

Bol TV network said it would revolutionize the country’s news media industry, attracting journalists with high salaries and using the most modern, high-tech equipment.

But in recent months, it has been the target of much criticism. One of its top anchors, Aamir Liaquat Hussain, came under fire for accusing some bloggers and rights activists critical of the country’s powerful military of blasphemy. Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan, and accusations often lead to lynching and other forms of violence against those accused. Mr. Hussain was temporarily suspended by the regulator this year.

“This channel has brazenly conducted incitement to violence for weeks on end, with its star accuser leering at the public every night,” said Gul Bukhari, a rights activist and newspaper columnist, referring to Mr. Hussain.

In a statement on Wednesday, the regulatory agency ordered Bol TV to surrender its original license and clear all debts. It also ordered cable operators and distribution networks across the country to take the network off the air immediately or face legal consequences.

Bol TV management said it would challenge the license cancellation in court.

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