PEMRA hears plea against BOL TV licence
LAHORE: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) heard the plea against issuing of licence to ‘BOL TV’ on Thursday at its headquarter in Islamabad following a court order issued by a single-judge bench of the Lahore High Court.
A citizen, Agha Shahid Rasheed, has moved the court through Advocate Azhar Siqqique claming that PEMRA had issued licence of ‘BOL TV’ violating the rules and regulations of the authority. The petitioner has raised serious questions about the ‘BOL TV Network’ and prayed the court to direct the respondent to declare funding sources to run this mega media project. He also prayed the court to ask several national institutions to perform their obligations and check the sources and legitimacy of funds that are to be used to run ‘BOL TV Network.’
After hearing the petitioner’s plea, the court ordered that a copy of the petition be sent to PEMRA authorities “… who will decide the application of the petitioner strictly in accordance with law after granting a hearing to the concerned parties through a speaking order …”. Following the court order the PEMRA authorities held a hearing at their headquarter in Islamabad on Thursday, July 18, 2013. Director general licensing, general manager licensing, director general (monitoring) and regional general manager, Lahore were on the PEMRA panel. The petitioner, Agha Shahid Rasheed, attended the proceedings with his lawyer, Advocate Azhar Siddique and conveyed his point of view.
According to the information available to the Media Times Investigation Unit, harsh arguments were exchanged among the petitioner and the PEMRA officials. The petitioner alleged that the authority was favouring ‘BOL TV Network’ against some gains. He also alleged that PEMRA was turning eyes from the violations in issuing licence to BOL TV after getting bribe and pressure from some influential quarters.
It has been reliably learnt that the petitioner asked PEMRA to furnish him the documents provided to the authority by the Asia News Network, a company formally owned by property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, but they refused to give it to the petitioner. The authority called only the petitioner, Agha Shahid Naddem, and the other concerned were not there. “The court order very explicitly reads that the concerned should be called by PEMRA but they did not call the other party which is tantamount to the contempt of court. We are not satisfied with the proceedings,” Advocate Azhar Siddique told Media Times Investigation Unit.
PEMRA heard the petitioner Agha Shahid Nadeem but did not issue any order, although the court has directed for a ‘speaking order’ after a reasonable opportunity of hearing. The petitioner also said that all the documents pertaining to the security clearance and other issues were public documents and under article 19 A of the constitution of Pakistan he had the right to know about the genuineness of the documents and reasons for issuing such documents, if they are genuine. After the proceedings the petitioner wrote a letter to the PEMRA authorities expressing his dissatisfaction on the proceedings, saying they were in violation of the court order. He threatened to move the court again for contempt of court proceedings.