JournalismPakistan.com May 11, 2014
ISLAMABAD: Geo Television was not allowed to use a drone to cover Sunday's protest rally of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Islamabad.
According to Geo's online editor Shaheryar Popalzai, permission was declined by the commissioner. "Geo had approached the commissioner for permission and he had said this is a red zone and NOBODY is allowed to use a drone or flying cam," Popalzai tweeted.
In a separate tweet, he said three drones had been confiscated from the D-Chowk area, where the protest took place. It could not be known to which channels the drones belonged.
Meanwhile, in an interview to Motherboard, Popalzai was quoted as saying it was only a matter of time before news organizations understood the benefits of using UAVS, and how they could help with the news.
Motherboard said that Geo Television is in the process of experimenting with 2 DJI Phantoms, plans for which call for assisting in gathering footage for the network. They are described as “commercially available Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” or, in other words, unarmed drones.
Popalzai had first-hand experience with the technology in March, the website said.
For Geo, drones offer safety and the ability to cover topics in greater detail. When the network dispatched a team to the Tharparkar district of Sindh to cover a drought, producers sent Shaheryar Popalzai as a drone pilot. When the segment aired in early April, it was the first of its kind. “UAVs could be really good for us."
Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said Geo News had reached out to them about acquiring drones, but they are unaware of any being used for journalistic purposes.
Motherboard quoted CAA Public Relations manager Abid Kaimkhani as saying regulations and licensing procedures are still being worked out. “Anything that flies over 500 feet could pose a problem for our commercial airspace, so we are working quickly to address how to regulate their usage.
Kaimkhani said the CAA is looking into devising a flight exam to provide drone pilots licenses to fly.
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