Supreme Court snubs PEMRA over Bol TV license case

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Supreme Court snubs PEMRA over Bol TV license case

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan, while conducting hearing of appeal of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) pertaining to security clearance of private TV channel (Bol TV),  said that it cannot occur that security clearance should be given to one channel and security clearance should be denied to other channel.

Two-member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and justice Sajjad Ali Shah on Tuesday conducted hearing of the appeal filed by Pemra.

During the hearing, counsel of the ministry of interior, while giving his arguments, stated that interior ministry gave security clearance and withdrew the security clearance after two days.

Upon this, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed inquired as to whether the order regarding withdrawal of security clearance was challenged anywhere.

On the occasion, the counsel of Bol TV Babar Awan informed the court that withdrawal of security clearance was not informed.

Counsel of the ministry of interior said that they gave security clearance on one day and withdrew the security clearance after two days due to falling of Saturday and Sunday in between the days.

Upon this, the counsel of private TV channel said that they would have challenged this step at any forum if they had been informed.

Babar Awan, while addressing the justice, said that justice Sahab now this appeal has been ineffective because there is a judgment of justice Sajjad Ali Shah on the record in this regard.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed inquired as to whether Bol TV has any security clearance today; saying that only ministry of interior can give security clearance and nobody else.

The other counsel of Bol TV Anwar Mansoor said that Bol TV has the security clearance of ISI and it is ministry of interior which wrote to ISI regarding security clearance of Bol TV.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that the court cannot give any such verdict which may bring any negative impression upon the freedom of journalism, saying that it cannot occur that security clearance should be given to one channel and security clearance should be denied to other channel. He said that court is taking the case ahead carefully and this appeal is so far not ineffective in the court.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed further said that the court would take the case ahead if the high court does not give its judgment till the next hearing. He said that what are the reasons of non-giving the security clearance are known to everybody including the court.

The court was informed that Sindh high court will conduct hearing of the appeal of the private TV channel today (Wednesday) filed against the order of PEMRA. Upon this, the court said that the issue will be seen after the verdict of the high court.

The court, on the appeal of PEMRA, adjourned hearing regarding security clearance of the private TV channel (Bol TV) till May 23.