November 29, 2016
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) have condemned the action of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) suspending the license of two television channels on November 26.
The IFJ demanded that the channels be allowed to continue broadcasting.
PEMRA suspended licenses of Din News for a month and Neo TV for a week; and fined them Rs1 million (approximately $9,500) for ‘levelling baseless allegations against the judge of the Supreme Court’. PEMRA also fined Sach TV Rs1 million for airing remarks of a caller. The suspension will be implemented from December 1, 2016 and the fine payable within 15 days.
The three satellite TV channels were issued notices on November 19, 2016 for airing ‘irresponsible’ analysis and asked to submit their replies on November 26, 2016 after appearance in PEMRA. On November 26, the reply was submitted and the channels were allowed to present their defense.
The PFUJ termed the decision tantamount to attack on media and its freedom of speech and expression. “We understand that PEMRA should issue warnings if some channels are not following the code of conduct but the suspension of licenses is unlawful and an attack on the freedom of media which is not tolerable. The PFUJ demands PEMRA take its orders back and let the channels continue their broadcast,” said the union.
The IFJ added: “Orders to suspend broadcasting of television channels over its content is against the principles of the press freedom and the IFJ demands that the decision to suspend broadcasting be annulled.”
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