SHC issues show-cause notice to cable association chief -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SHC issues show-cause notice to cable association chief

Jamal Khurshid

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday issued show cause notice to Chairman Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (COAP) Khalid Arain for maltreating the court official when he went to serve court notice of Geo TV petition against suspension of Geo TV channels transmission by the cable operators.

Hearing Jang/Geo Group petition against unlawful suspension of Geo TV, Geo Super, Geo Entertainment and AAG TV by the cable operators, the court was informed that court official was maltreated at office of COAP when he went to serve court notice on the petition.

The SHC’s division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam took exception to the act of the respondent and issued notice to COAP Chairman Khalid Arain to show cause as to why he maltreated officer of the court when he attempted to serve notice of the court. The court observed that such conduct amounts to interfering in performance of official duties and undermining the authority of the court.

The court adjourning the matter till March 29 continued the interim stay order in which cable operators were restrained from illegally suspending broadcasting of Geo TV channels and Pemra was directed to ensure that court order is acted upon in letter and spirit.

Our Islamabad correspondent adds: The order passed by the SHC in CP No. D-821/2011 states, “The undertakings filed by Mr. Ali Raza, advocate and Mr. Rasheed A Razvi advocate on behalf of respondent No2 (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) and 3 (Cable Operators Association of Pakistan) respectively, which are taken on record.

Let notice be issued to Khalid Arain, the respondent No3 to show cause as to why he maltreated the officer of the court when he attempted to serve the notice. Such conduct amounts to interfering with the performance of official duties and undermining the authority of the court. Interim order passed earlier to continue till the next date.”

It is worth mentioning here that the SHC on March 19 restrained cable operators from illegally suspending broadcasts of Geo TV channels and directed Pemra to ensure that the court order is acted upon by the cable operators in letter and spirit. The order came on a petition of Jang/Geo media group against unlawful suspension of Geo TV, Geo Super, Geo Entertainment and AAG TV transmissions by the cable operators.

Petitioners’ counsel Dr Amjad Hussain Bukhari submitted that Jang/Geo were a leading media house having licence under Pemra Ordinance, 2002 to broadcast Geo News, Geo Entertainment, AAG and Geo Super. He submitted that COAP in a press conference on March 18 have announced that from March 19 at 12:00 noon they would suspend the broadcasting of all TV channels on cable TV network including the petitioners’ channels.

He said cable operators warned of complete blackout for relaying cricket World Cup matches by the channels not authorised by the Supreme Court from March 19 noon in protest against countrywide raids by Pemra on cable networks. It was submitted that Pemra as per news reports acted against the cable operators following the Supreme Court decision on broadcasting right of ICC Cricket World Cup matches.

The counsel submitted that under Section 28 of the Pemra Ordinance and Rule 9 of the Pemra Ordinance Rules 2009 the cable operators are bound not to seize or suspend broadcasting of licensed TV channels. He said that conduct of cable operators is in also violation of Articles 5, 18, 19, 19-A, 23 and 24 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The court after preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pemra and the COAP and restrained the cable operators from illegally suspending broadcasting of the channels of the petitioners in violation of Section 28 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002 read with Rule 9 of the Pemra Rules 2009.

The court also directed the cable operators, in case they have suspended the broadcasting of the Geo TV channels in violation of section or rules referred above, to restore the broadcasting of these channels forthwith. The court directed Pemra to ensure that order of the court is acted upon by the cable operators in letter and spirit.
Source: The News
Date:3/23/2011