The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Monday decided to immediately take both the BOL News and BOL Entertainment TV channels off the air for not getting “security clearance from the Interior Ministry”.
The decision to the effect was taken during its 174th meeting presided over by Pemra Chairman Muhammad Saleem Baig, according to an official statement.
The meeting was informed that the licences of M/s Labbaik were cancelled by Pemra in its 131th meeting of 2017 for not getting security clearance from the Ministry of Interior. However, the channels continued their transmission after challenging PEMRA’s order in the Sindh High Court, which disposed of the case in 2021.
It noted that Pemra’s lawyer had made it clear that both the channels would not be allowed to go on air if the Interior Ministry did not give security clearance to M/s Labbaik.
The media regulatory authority, after reviewing all the records related to the court’s orders and the letters issued by the Interior Ministry, ordered to stop transmission of both the BOL channels.
The media watchdog said that the M/s Labbaik had not submitted any application for renewal of the BOL Entertainment’s licence which had expired in December 2021.
Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan while reacting to the development said the coalition government led by Premier Shehbaz Sharif suspended BOL’s transmission because it gave his party coverage.
“Imported govt has taken media & journalists' censorship & persecution to fascistic levels. Now Bol has been suspended simply because it gave us coverage. Message to all media houses is to blackout the largest & most popular national pol[itical] party from mainstream media. Unacceptable,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
Imported govt has taken media & journalists' censorship & persecution to fascistic levels. Now Bol has been suspended simply because it gave us coverage. Message to all media houses is to blackout the largest & most popular national pol party from mainstream media. Unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/GUG73YULmA— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 5, 2022