SHC restrains cable operators from suspending Geo transmission -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SHC restrains cable operators from suspending Geo transmission

Jamal Khurshid

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court restrained cable operators from illegally suspending broadcasts of Geo TV channels and directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (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.

The SHC’s division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, has also issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pemra and Cable Operators Association of Pakistan.

Petitioners counsel Dr Amjad Hussain Bukhari submitted that Jang/Geo were a leading media house having licence under Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Ordinance, 2002 to broadcast Geo News, Geo Entertainment, AAG and Geo Super. He submitted that Cable Operators Association of Pakistan 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 authorized by the Supreme Court from Saturday noon in protest against countrywide raids by the 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 COA 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 spirits. The next hearing of the case has been adjourned till March 22.
Source: The News
Date:3/20/2011