JournalismPakistan.com May 20, 2014
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has disowned a decision by its committee to suspend three licenses of Geo Television.
In a Press release issued Tuesday, PEMRA said that today's meeting (of the committee) was called without following the laid down procedures and thus had no legal standing. The committee had decided to suspend licenses of Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Tez and to seal the channel's offices. A final decision on revoking the licenses will be announced on May 28, earlier reports said.
The following is the text of the Press release issued by PEMRA following the committee's meeting:
"Reference to the media talks held by three PEMRA members namely Israr Abbasi, Mian Shams and Fareeha Iftikhar in front of PEMRA Headquarters today regarding the Geo issue.
PEMRA disowns the decision announced by three members of PEMRA regarding cancellation of Geo's licenses. The majority authority members in 95th meeting held on May 9, 2014 had decided to refer the case to the Ministry of Law for legal opinion. The decision of seeking opinion from law division was taken in all fairness to avoid future legal consequences in such a critical issue.
The complaint against Geo Entertainment was already referred to 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 scheduled meeting.
It is also clarified that today's meeting was called without following the laid down procedures and thus had no legal standing. 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 i.e. out of twelve members at least 07 members can call a meeting. This was an informal meeting attended 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 meeting convened by these members is without any official intimation or invitation to other members in accordance with the procedures."
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Three progressive periodicals - Savera (edited by Zaheer Kashmiri), Naqoosh (edited by Ahmed Nadim Qasmi) and Adab-i-Latif (edited by Mirza Adeeb) - were proscribed by the Muslim League government of Punjab for six months in 1948. This was the first attack on the freedom of press in the country (The Press in Chains - Zamir Jafri).
The Press and Publications Ordinance was replaced by Registration of Printing Press and Publications Ordinance (PPPO) in 1988.