PAKISTAN: DawnNews TV's test transmission from today

Newspaper group gets television license after struggling with regulatory agency

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Karachi --- DawnNews, Pakistan's first English language TV news channel, will commence its test transmission on Friday (May 25) evening from its head office in Karachi. The 24-hour DawnNews broadcast will be fed by a network of newsrooms and studios located in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore and supported by a string of news bureaus in other cities and towns in the country.

Owned by Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt) Ltd, the publishers of Dawn, the network has over 300 journalists working under the Director News, Mr Azhar Abbas. Mr Abbas has had a distinguished career in electronic and print journalism. He was formerly managing director of GEO News.

The network also has a team of veteran journalists and qualified newcomers demonstrating a strong reliance on agenda-broadening areas, such as environment, education and fine arts. "The synergy of a young generation of film-makers and news journalists at DawnNews is expected to gradually transform Pakistan's information scene," says a spokesman for Pakistan Herald Publications.

"In our endeavour to establish DawnNews we are enormously helped by our legacy -- The legacy of Dawn, that was founded by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on 14th August 1947 in Karachi, the same day our nation was born. We believe that by facilitating access to information of the highest quality and with a defined commitment to clarity and accuracy, we can enable Pakistan's young generations to assume their place as informed citizens of the world."

The commencement of test transmission for the public is expected to be marked by a simple ceremony at the headquarters of DawnNews in Karachi. The news channel is being transmitted free to air as of Friday and may be viewed in Pakistan either via cable or through a satellite receiver. Its satellite footprint covers a wide area stretching from the Middle East across South Asia, up to Malaysia and Singapore.

At present the transmission is being conducted courtesy a temporary up-linking permission granted by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). The prospects for acquiring a permanent licence for DawnNews inched a few steps ahead last week when a public advertisement issued by Pemra announced the holding of mandatory public hearings in Karachi on May 30, usually set up prior to the issuance of a licence.