Rating cos asked to register with Pemra within 3 days
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday directed the media rating companies to provide the viewership data to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the authority will display the same on its website.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umer Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen, resumed hearing into Axact’s TV channel rating case.
The court directed that six rating companies will provide the Pemra on daily basis the data of TV channels viewership, registering with the authority within three days for which the regulator will determine the procedure.
The court held that on the basis of such data, the ad companies could be free to adjust the criteria for advertisements telecasting on TV channels.
The court directed that the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) will have no role in determining the ratings and its members will not sit in Board of Governors (BoG) meeting of Pemra.
Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi told the court that the Pemra has submitted its recommendations, stating that it is not the job of regulator to issue the ratings but it could regulate the services of rating agencies.
Justice Ijazul Ahsen however observed that rating companies have created monopoly.
“Let us abolish the rating companies,” the CJP observed adding that after this, market itself will determine the rates of advertisements. How a private rating company could be allowed to determine the ratings.
The chief justice said that MediaLogic has connected itself with the Pakistan Broadcasters Association.
Mian Aamir Mahmood, PBA Chairman, however, submitted that person giving ad can take the rate of advertisement from his own choice of company.
The chief justice, however, said that he is going to abolish the rating to which Mian Aamir Mahmood said that through ratings, the viewership of the TV channels is investigated.
Counsel for Axact’s TV channel said that there is a need for making amendments to the PBA constitution.
The chief justice, however, said that the simple solution will be that the channel should be given PBA membership so that it could also get rating.
At one point, Chief Justice also admonished the counsel for MediaLogic as the court could send him jail if he again tried to approach (Sifarish). “Let us indict the MediaLogic for contempt of court,” the CJP said.
Additional Attorney General during the hearing said that the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has filed a reply regarding TV channel ratings.
Counsel for the channel said that despite of court order, the MediaLogic was still issuing ratings. Mian Aamir Mahmood however, denied the claim of the counsel.
Barrister Ali Zafar, counsel for MediaLogic submitted that it should be allowed to operate in the free market without any cartelisation because without rating companies there can be no advertisements and this will adversely affect the business of the broadcasters.
Accordingly Pemra may register the rating companies but any person including advertisers would be free to obtain the services of any rating agencies, Zafar submitted.
Sami Ibrahim, anchorperson told the court that the rating companies are the properties of foreign companies which are determining the contents for running on TV channels.
Mian Aamir told the court that the blockade of advertising has greatly affected the business of TV channels adding that the whole investment is being shifted to Facebook and Google. He said that the PBA has no concern with the advertisements but it only ensure payment of advertisements to the media houses.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing after holding that the six rating companies will provide the Pemra on daily basis data of TV channels viewership, registering with the authority within three days for which the regulator will determine the procedure.
The court directed that the PBA will have no role in determining the ratings and its members will not be sitting in Pemra Board of Governors (BoG) meeting.
The court further held that all the rating companies will register itself with Pemra within three days and the regulator will determine the procedure for it, adding that all the stakeholders may make their submission before justice Umer and Ijaz for finalising the details in respect to the procedure for ratings companies.