SHC restrains PEMRA action against cable TV operators
KARACHI, Jan 22: A division bench of Sindh High Court comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain & Justice Arshad Noor Khan Thursday restrained Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority till February 17, 2009 from taking coercive action against cable TV operators in Karachi to seek separate license for in-house channels.
Petitioners Cable Operators Association of Pakistan with Karachi Cable Services, Digi Cable Ptv Ltd., New Crown Cable Network & King Multimedia Plus Cable Network moved SHC against Chairman PEMRA and Secretary Information Ministry.
Their counsels submitted petitioners were issued license to establish TV cable network system. They obtained composite license under PEMRA Ordinance 2002, which had no provision concerning in-house channel. Neither Act nor Rules of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002 recognised separate license.
But, PEMRA authorities demanded TV cable operators to seek separate license to run in-house channel in sum of Rs 0.5 million per in-house channel & pay 5% of their gross advertisement revenue. Counsel said such charges could not be imposed through delegated regulations.
They submitted Regulation 9(8) stipulates cable operators shall pay 5% of gross revenue earned from advertisements on cable to PEMRA. Therefore, PEMRA authorities demanded cable operators to seek separate license to run in-house channel, pay 5% of income.
Counsels prayed to declare Regulation 29(10) & 9(8) PEMRA Regulations 2002 ultra vires to Constitution and restrain respondents from forcing cable operators to seek separate license for in-house channels, pay 5% of revenue to PEMRA.
SHC division bench directed respondents not to take coercive action against petitioners & adjourned matter till February 17, 2009 on request of petitioners counsels. Deputy Attorney General Umer Hayat Sindhu requested to set final date for hearing.
Source: The Nation