SC appoints Jabbar to monitor cable operators
ISLAMABAD: Agreeing to a suggestion by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to penalise the cable operators guilty of violating an earlier court order only after the Cricket World Cup event is over, the Supreme Court appointed on Tuesday former information minister Javed Jabbar to monitor the programmes relayed by the cable operators to ensure smooth transmission of a private sport channel.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Mohammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani that had taken up a contempt petition moved by the Independent Music Group asked Javed Jabbar to help implement the Supreme Court order by ensuring over 3,000 cable operators desist from obstructing cricket semi-final as well as the Cricket World Cup final tournament being telecast by the private sport channel, `Geo Super`.
Mr Jabbar will also bring to the notice of Pemra any violation of the Supreme Court orders he observes either through a telephone call or by an email.
The suggestion to penalise the cable operators found guilty of violating the apex court`s order was put forth by Pemra`s legal counsel Ali Raza who feared that immediate action would prompt cable operators to go on strike to blackout the entire mega cricketing tournament like they did recently.
The Chief Justice agreed to the possibility of cable operators resorting to extreme step and observed that the action be taken immediately after the matches were over.
The court also pointed out that orders passed by the Supreme Court being the apex judicial authority was bound to be honoured and respected by every individual saying no body be allowed to violate such orders contrary to the Article 190 of the Constitution which required the institutions to come in aid of the Supreme Court in implementing any court orders.
“We are conscious of the fact that being a regulatory authority Pemra is doing its best to monitor cable operators spreading all over the country,” the order said and expected that the authority would utilise available resources to implement the order across the country.
The order said the court expected that all sundry would implement the order failing which this court would be constraint to take an appropriate action against them.
The Pemra counsel submitted that the authority took action against 76 cable operators by seizing their equipments and suspending their licenses on the complaints of the petitioner adding every possible effort were being taken to implement the order of the apex court in letter and spirit even though it was difficult to monitor each and every operator.
Akram Sheikh representing the petitioner expressed the apprehension that the cable operators might resort to buffering or scrambling transmission of Geo Super during the World Cup semi-finals and the final.
He said the private channel had acquired the exclusive right to broadcast the ICC cricket events within the territory of Pakistan.
Mr Sheikh argued that despite the earlier order to ensure that except Geo Super no other private channel should air cricketing events a good number of operators have violated the order and even at times changed Geo Super from one place to another.