Pemra takes up issue without federal govt: Ban on channel relay -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pemra takes up issue without federal govt: Ban on channel relay

LAHORE, Sept, : The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has taken up the issue of the ban imposed on the relay of four channels of ARY TV network in Punjab with the federal government, terming the decision of the provincial government illegal. “Under the authority’s law no provincial government is authorised to stop a channel from broadcasting.

He said action against any channel was initiated only after hearing the parties concerned. “Even in cases where a channel is involved in anti-religion, anti-Pakistan propaganda or fanning sectarianism it is given a chance of hearing before taking action against it,” he added. He said the Pemra had nothing to do with the bar imposed on the relay of the ARY channels by the Punjab government. The ban imposed by the Punjab government on the relay of ARY channels in the province is violative of the Pemra Act under which the broadcast of a channel can be barred only if it is found involved in a campaign against Islam or Pakistan or is guilty of fanning sectarianism.

The Punjab government on Sunday night stopped the cable operators across the province from airing ARY channels, alleging they were “campaigning against the provincial government” following the torture of three TV journalists at the hands of the Lohari Gate police.The journalists reportedly had a brawl with the police on the parking of their vehicle when they reached the Minar-i-Pakistan for the coverage of a public meeting of a religious organisation. “The news channel is serving the purpose of the MQM by campaigning against the Punjab government in the name of freedom of press,” they added.

“The ARY deliberately got the reaction of that party on the issue containing scathing criticism of the Punjab government and Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi,” they explained. The government believed in the freedom of press, he told reporters the other day. The sources said the ban on the channels would be lifted only when its TV management requested for the same to the chief minister in person. A Punjab government officer, however, claimed that the bar on the channels would be lifted shortly.

ARY bureau chief Nasrullah Malik said the channel was not serving the agenda of any party. “We do not discriminate, we give equal coverage to all parties and such allegations are baseless,” the Punjab government unless it allowed broadcasting the channels. He said the management was also considering moving the Supreme Court against the unilateral decision of the Punjab government.
Source: The News
Date:9/21/2006