PEMRA suspends Geo News license for 15 days

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA) on Friday suspended license of the Geo News, a private television channel, for 15 days on a complaint filed by the Ministry of Defence earlier, according to a spokesman for the authority.

The channel has also been fined Rs 10 million to be paid before the expiry of the suspension period. The order stated that in case of non-payment of fine, the suspension of the license will continue. The authority further decided that in case of repeated violation by the Geo News, proceedings for the revocation of the license will be initiated.

The development came during a meeting of the body convened by its newly-appointed chairman Parvez Rathore under Rule 3(4) of the PEMRA Rules 2009. The meeting deliberated on a complaint filed by the ministry against the channel in light of the law ministry’s opinion. The body after a discussion unanimously decided to immediately suspend the license for a period of 15 days.

All field offices of PEMRA have been directed to implement the decision of the authority in letter and spirit with immediate effect. A statement from the channel said that the regulatory body had already been punishing the channel, adding that the broadcast was not available in 90 per cent of the areas in Pakistan for the last 45 days. The statement further said that the channel had already apologised and had incurred two billion rupees in losses.

The channel added that the Geo News was not provided with any evidence nor was its stance heard by the PEMRA. It may be mentioned here that the federal government had appointed Pervez Rathore as the acting chairmen of the authority on Thursday evening. Also, the Islamabad High Court has summoned the acting PEMRA chairman on June 9 over a plea of a private member of the authority.

Mian Shams had filed petition calling a meeting violation of the court orders. PEMRA member Israr Abbasi after announcement of the decision said that the government has interfered in the functioning of the authority. He said the PEMRA members were intimidated, adding that the decision will be challenged in the court. He called the PEMRA session held today as illegal.

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