Friday June 14, 2024

Blocking of TV channels: SC upholds SHC judgment, dismisses Pemra plea

By Our Correspondent
November 11, 2022
The view outside the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — SC website
The view outside the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — SC website

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday upheld the Sindh High Court (SHC) judgment directing the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to frame rules for exercising its powers on blocking TV channels.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen, dismissed the Pemra appeal on its powers for blocking TV channels and upheld the SHC decision.

In 2020, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) challenged in the SHC powers of Pemra on blocking of TV channels. The SHC had directed Pemra to frame rules for either suspending or blocking TV channels.

The regulator, however, instead of framing rules, had challenged the SHC judgment in the Supreme Court. On Thursday, the court observed that in order to exercise its powers, it is mandatory upon Pemra to frame rules.

Ahmed Pervez, counsel for Pemra, however, told the court that the regulator has legally empowered either to suspend or block the transmission of TV channels adding that the powers as well formulating rules had to be looked into separately.

He pleaded the court to set aside the order passed by the SHC. Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that for the last 20 years, Pemra has not yet framed rules and regulations adding that since the high court had passed the order and even after one year, Pemra has not yet ensured framing of rules and regulations.

Faisal Siddiqui, counsel for the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), submitted before the court that the Pemra chairman had blocked the channels four times in a month adding that if any channel is blocked for 10 days, it could not survive.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that framing of rules were mandatory adding that who is empowered by these rules, it’s another matter. Later, the court after dismissing the Pemra appeal, disposed of the case.