As SC has given the order, what reason do cable operators have for not showing Geo, asks SHC

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday observed that the Supreme Court had given an order to cable operators and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ensure smooth transmission of TV channels, then what reason cable operators had for not telecasting Geo.

The court was hearing a set of identical petitions filed by the Independent Media Corporation and Independent News Corporation against the suspension of Geo News, Geo Tez, Geo Kahani and Geo Entertainment transmission by the cable operators.

Petitioner’s counsel Jam Asif submitted that the cable operators had no authority to suspend the transmission of licensed TV channels or change their position.

He said private cable operators did not comply with the orders of Pemra and hence the broadcast of Geo News, Geo Entertainment, Geo Tez and Geo Kahani remained suspended for the last four months. He submitted that blocking the transmission of Geo TV channels was a violation of the SC and High Court’s orders that restrained Pemra and cable operators from blocking or interfering with their smooth transmission.

The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, asked the counsel for Pemra if the authority could cancel the licence of cable operators who were violating the law and what action had been taken against those who were not complying with the Supreme Court orders.

Pemra counsel Kashif Hanif submitted that they had issued show cause notices to cable operators who were not broadcasting the transmission of the Geo TV. He said the cable operators replied that they were not broadcasting the Geo TV transmission as the case was sub judice. He said Pemra would take an appropriate action against the cable operators after the court directive.

The court observed that the Supreme Court had directed the cable operators and Pemra and it should be implemented in letter and spirit. It further said if the orders were not complied with then the aggrieved parties could file contempt of court applications with the Supreme Court.

After partly hearing the arguments of the petitioners counsel, the court adjourned the hearing for September 10 with direction to repeat notices to un-served respondents. Ministry of Information, Pemra and cable operators including Syed Imran Haider Abidi of Home Vision Network, Kazim (Acting CEO) of Media Plus Communication, Ghufran Mujtaba of City Communication, Ikhlaq Ahmed of Karachi Cable Service, Mehmood Ahmed of City Communication Cable Network Sukkur, Ahmed Ali of A.A Cable Network Nawabshah, Skyline Cable Network, Mohammad Hussain of Track Communication, Zahir Ali of City Cable Network Hyderabad, Sheikh Asim Rasool of New Asia Communication and Nadir Shahani of Highway Communication were cited as respondents in the petitions.

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