SC strikes down high court order suspending license of private television channel

Web Desk
Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Monday suspended an order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to stop the transmission of a private television channel on cable television and ordered that the channel be returned to the airwaves across the country. 

The decision was announced during a hearing of an appeal filed by the news channel in the top court against the ruling of the high court. A two member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Yahya Afridi, presided over the hearing. 

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In the ruling issued on the matter, the top court directed the news channel to refer to the high court to seek further relief from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. PEMRA had last week suspended the license of the channel after it was found broadcasting illegal content.

In the suspension order, the regulatory body said that due to the non-compliance of licence terms and conditions and the orders of the authority, the body suspended the licence given to the private television channel with immediate effect.

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“Authority had directed [the channel] to stop violation of licence category by airing news and current affairs programmes (which amounts to contravening the Pemra laws) and revert back to its approved programming content," the statement issued by PEMRA said.

The news channel had subsequently challenged the directives of the regulatory body in the IHC. However, the high court dismissed the challenge and upheld the decision of PEMRA in an order issued last week. The SC was conducting a hearing of an appeal into the ruling.