LHC stays suspension of television channel licence

LHC stays suspension of television channel licence

ISLAMABAD-The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday suspended operation of a notification of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) about suspension of television channel 24NewsHD’s licence.

Justice Muhammad Sajid Mehmood Sethi passed the stay order on a petition, filed by Central Media Network (Pvt) Limited and sought replies from Pemra and other respondents by Wednesday, July 8.

A counsel for the petitioner argued that the regulatory authority suspended the channel's licence through an impunged notification on July 3. He contended that the step was illegal as the authority did not provide any opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.

He pleaded with the court for setting aside the notification being illegal. He also requested the court for suspending Pemra notification till the final decision on the petition.

However, Pemra's counsel opposed the request and stated that the petition was not maintainable. He argued that the petitioner should have approach the Islamabad High Court for redress of his grievance.

The court, after hearing arguments of parties, stayed the operation of Pemra's notification and sought replies from respondents. The court also observed that the matter would be heard on daily basis.

Pemra had suspended television channel 24NewsHD's licence over "illegal transmission of news and current affairs content".

The regulatory authority stated that the channel Value TV — for which the licence was issued to Central Media Network (Pvt) Limited — "illegally" changed its name to 24NewsHD. The channel was granted the licence to air entertainment content but instead it was "persistently illegally and unlawfully airing news and current affairs in continuous violation of the Pemra laws".