Geo to be off if we face action: cable operators -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Geo to be off if we face action: cable operators

LAHORE: Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (COAP) has warned that, even if it has to face the contempt of court charge, it will block transmission of Geo if any action is taken against cable operators.

The Geo Super has secured exclusive rights from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to telecast the World Cup matches in Pakistan. Addressing a luncheon reception, given in honour of the Association office-bearers at a local hotel on Friday, COAP Punjab General Secretary Chaudhry Tahir Javed said the association condemned all those channels which have moved the Supreme Court.

COAP President Malik Furqan Haider told the reception participants the entire nation has an emotional attachment with the Cricket World Cup, but Geo has wavered COAP’s confidence and its unflinching relationship with the channel by exploiting the event to its economic gains.

He said all cable operators were united; they would not tolerate any injustice and would block transmission of all those channels which would encroach upon their rights. He said that he had clearly told the Geo Network that people were being deceived on the issue of Geo Super by claiming that it has exclusive cable rights to telecast the World Cup matches.

He alleged that counsel for Geo Network had lied to the court about the exclusive rights. He called upon the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the situation.

He said Geo Network has not signed any agreement with the cable operators regarding the World Cup matches, and if any person claims to have secured exclusive rights to show matches on cable network without reaching any agreement with the cable operators, it will be a lie and we will not be bound to show the matches on that particular channel, he added.

Despite all these facts, the COAP chief said, the cable operators are complying with the Supreme Court orders and have not blocked Geo Supper. However, he warned, if the Geo continued running news stories and any action was taken against the cable operators, they would be forced to take direct action.

Capital zone chairman Sheikh Ijaz said that no broadcaster has any right to warn them. He urged all cable operators to stand up to such negative tactics and put any channel off air which runs news ticker against them.

Islamabad COAP chairman Qazi Akhtar said that a big channel first threatens them and then starts apologizing and flattering them.

COAP Chairman Khalid Arain said that if any channel wants its programmes aired on the number of its choice, then it should also pay fee to them to get such number.

He was of the opinion that the TV channels owe their existence and their slogans for the freedom of press to the cable operators.

COAP Senior Central President Capitan (retd) Jabbar said all channels owners should feel shame, telling them that they, who were on top from Karachi to Khyber, would fall facedown when cable operators would pull the ladder from their feet.

COAP’s Karachi representative Faisal said that the cable operators condemn the threat when they are warned of licence cancellation if they showed cricket matches aired by any other channel.

Highlighting the problems being faced by cable operators, the speakers at the convention said that Pemra should categorise different cities, and that no other city except Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad should fall in those categories. They said the procedure of licence upgradation should be reviewed and it should be ensured that whoever sells out his cable company should bring it into the notice of Pemra.

The speakers said some television channels are airing baseless news reports against cable operators. They warned these channels against this practice otherwise their association reserves the right to respond.

They said the cable operators have the facility to air only 85 channels, but the Pemra has issued licences to 122 television channels, and now Pemra should clarify which channels are to be telecast and which to be dropped.

The speakers demanded that Pemra digitalize the system this year, extend implementation period of this decision, and give tax concession on the import of the digitalization equipment. They also demanded Pemra receive one fee from them instead of three different types of fees.

The speakers complained that all broadcasting rights of the Cricket World Cup have been given to Geo Super while cable operators have been making regular payments to foreign channels.

Cable operators are the fifth pillar of the state and they are fully cognizant of the freedom of press. Pemra should facilitate the cable operators and issue them licences for 15 years instead of five.

Association’s leader Abdul Jabbar said some elements have tried to weaken the cable operators’ organisation but they failed to divide it. He added that the association had proved that the cable operators were united on one platform by holding this convention.

AssociationÂ’s Chairman Khalid Arain said that the new Pemra chairman was well aware of cable operators’ problems which, he hoped, would be resolved soon.
Source: The News
Date:3/5/2011