ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Tuesday announced that it has suspended Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Tez’s licenses till May 28, Express News reported.
They also stated that they will seal the TV channel’s offices.
“I would like to congratulate all of Pemra’s private members for making this decision, keeping in mind Pemra’s rules and regulations as well as Pakistan’s constitution,” said Pemra private member, Mian Shams.
Speaking to the media after holding meetings the whole day, Shams said that Pemra is an independent entity and will make decisions as such.
“Pemra is an independent organisation, and it would have been better if a government representative attended today’s meeting as well and help us come up with a decision,” he said.
Shams lamented that apart from him, only four other private members of the media authority attended today’s meeting which included Israr Abbasi from Azad Kashmir, Shama Parveen from Balochistan, Zeba Hussain from Sindh and Fariha Iftikhar from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He added that it was the government’s job to implement the recommendation.
The private member said the recommendation has been sent to the Council of Complaints (CoC) and their recommendations are expected to be returned in a week’s time.
Moreover, he said that once the recommendations come back, a special committee will be formed to make a final decision regarding Geo TV’s licenses.
Confusion surrounds PEMRA decision
There was some confusion regarding the decision to suspend Geo TV when the government late on Tuesday released a statement apparently from PEMRA which disowned the decision by the members and claimed that Tuesday’s meeting had no legal standing.
According to a PEMRA statement issued by the Press Information Department late on Tuesday, it read that the regulatory body “disowns the decisions announced by three members of PEMRA on cancelling Geo TV’s licenses.”
The statement, which did not carry any signature of a competent authority or otherwise, further said that a majority of the body’s members had decided in their May 9, 2014, meeting to refer the case to the Ministry of Law for a legal opinion.
“The complaint against Geo Entertainment was already referred to the Council of Complaints Sindh. The CoC in its meeting called today has already recommended about status of Geo’s license. The minutes of the CoC are awaited and the Authority would consider this matter in the next schedule meeting,” the statement read.
The statement further clarified that Tuesday’s meeting of the members was “called without following the laid down procedures and thus had no legal standing.”
It said that according to Rule 3(4) of PEMRA Rules 2009, the chairman or as the case may be more than half of the total members can call the meeting, that is seven of the 12 members can call a meeting.
The statement said that Tuesday’s meeting was an informal meeting attended only by five members.
“The Executive Member was not even asked to officially convene the meeting and notify it through the Secretary to the Authority which is the set procedure.”
The statement declared that Tuesday’s meeting was convened by the members without any official intimation or invitation to other members in accordance with the procedure.