Despite Pemra orders, Geo not yet fully restored
ISLAMABAD: Despite the clear orders of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Geo News is still not accessible to a large number of viewers across the country, putting a big question mark on the writ of the government and rule of law in the country.
Reports from across the country suggest that hidden forces are preventing the restoration of Pakistan’s most popular channel even after the written directives of Pemra issued after the expiry of the 15-day ban on June 20, 2014.
In another blatant violation of the Supreme Court order, the channel numbers of Geo News and other members of Geo family including Geo Tez, Geo Super and Geo Kahani have been changed illegally.
The apex court, while disposing of Geo News petition on May 26, directed Pemra to restore Geo News on its original position but the channel is either completely blocked or placed on last numbers where signal quality is too poor to show the clear transmission.
On the other hand, while Pemra has imposed one-month suspension on Geo Entertainment for showing blasphemous content, it has taken no action against other channels which aired the same content in their morning shows. A private channel has even reproduced the same content repeatedly but Pemra has turned a blind eye towards the issue. It seems that Pemra has become a helpless regulator as it has failed to ensure implementation of its orders in letter and spirit.
On June 20, Pemra suspended the licence of a private TV channel for 15 days for airing anti-judiciary programmes but the authority could not fully implement the orders and the transmission continued in violation of law. Four days later, Sindh High Court (SHC) restored the transmission of the private channel and it was back on air immediately.
But the same could not happen in case of Geo News. The authority had suspended the licence of Geo News for fifteen days on June 5. The channel respected the law and suspended transmissions in Pakistan on the same day.
Upon completion of the suspension period on June 20, Pemra forwarded the notification of restoration of Geo News to all its regional offices with direction that the country’s cable operators should obey the order of the Supreme Court according to which the position of Geo News on cable TV network should be the same as was in the second week of April, 2014.
However the directions of authority were not taken seriously by the cable operators in several parts of the country.The management of Geo News has already suffered huge financial losses worth billions for illegal blockade and repositioning of Geo and other channels of the family including Geo Tez, Geo Kahani and Geo Super.