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Pakistani TV channel Geo News sues powerful spy agency for defamation

Published on Jun 6, 2014 5:56 PM
Pakistani activists from the Defence of Human Rights Pakistan organisation shout slogans during a protest against the attack on television journalist Hamid Mir by gunmen in Islamabad on April 22, 2014. A leading Pakistani journalist and TV anchor who was shot three times in an attack in Karachi is conscious and in stable condition. Mr Mir, who hosts a prime-time current affairs talk show on the Geo News channel, was attacked on April 19 while travelling by car to his office from the airport in Karachi. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani television channel Geo News is suing the powerful spy agency for defamation over accusations of being anti-state, it said on Friday, in a move unprecedented in a country where public criticism of the military is taboo.

In the latest twist in a saga that has captivated the country, Pakistan's media regulator also suspended Geo for 15 days for reporting that the ISI spy agency was behind the April shooting of one of Pakistan's most famous journalists.

"Geo and Jang Group (have) served legal notice on the Ministry of Defence, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for defaming and maligning the group," the channel said in a report published in a newspaper owned by its parent company. "More than 8,000 journalists, workers and professionals attached to the group and their families are not only being harassed but also attacked and tortured across Pakistan."

Geo News has also given the ISI 14 days to retract its accusations and issue a public apology.

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