Pemra issues show cause to Bol; SHC grants stay to channel
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued show cause notice to Labbaik Pvt Ltd (Bol News channel) on Friday for defying its order to discontinue the programme, Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga, and to keep Amir Liaquat, its host, off the air.
The regulator, through an order issued on Thursday, had taken exception to the programme over its “controversial and hate-based contents” and barred Amir Liaquat from appearing on any TV screen.
But the channel defied Pemra’s directives in its night transmission, giving the host an opportunity to defend himself.
The show cause notice said: “Amir Liaquat not only hosted the said programme but also appeared in a promo on the TV screen the same day orders were issued and conveyed to the Bol News management.”
In another development, the Sindh High Court granted a stay order against the Pemra decision on Friday and allowed Bol News to continue Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga till a verdict by the court.
However, a legal expert at Pemra argued that since the channel obtained the stay order on Friday, it was bound to reply to the show cause notice nonetheless because the regulator’s directive was flouted the previous day.
“If there is no justifiable reason or the channel decides not to respond to the show cause notice within seven days, strict action could be taken against the channel, including revocation or suspension of its operating licence,” the official said.
The notice was issued under Sections 29, 30, 33 and 34 of the Pemra Ordinance of 2002.
The television channel was asked in the show cause to explain non-compliance with Pemra’s orders of imposing a complete ban on the anchor, his TV programme and on his promos “with immediate effect”.
The regulator described the airing of the TV show as “wilful defiance of the orders” of the authority — a cognisable offence under the ordinance.
The show cause notice stated: “M/s. Labbaik Private Limited (Bol News), in blatant and deliberate violation of aforementioned prohibition orders, not only telecast the programme, Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga, but Dr Aamir Liaquat appeared on the channel at 22.45pm January 26.”
Later the programme was re-telecast by the TV management in violation of the Pemra orders, the notice said.
It further stated: “In case the channel management fails to submit reply within a period of seven days, the matter shall be proceeded ex parte in accordance with the Pemra laws.”
Muhammad Tahir, the spokesperson for Pemra, said the authority would challenge the Sindh High Court’s stay order in the apex court.