Pakistan: ARY News “back on air” after IHC orders immediate reinstatement
3 September, 2022 | Pranay Lad
Following the orders of the Islamabad High Court on Friday to immediately resume the broadcast of the Pakistani TV station, the transmission of ARY News has been restored in numerous places. The st...
Following the orders of the Islamabad High Court on Friday to immediately resume the broadcast of the Pakistani TV station, the transmission of ARY News has been restored in numerous places.
The station is now broadcasting in numerous places throughout Pakistan, including Islamabad, Lahore, and Sukkur, while the full restoration is still waiting. According to ARY News, the Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) has also restored the channel in Lahore and Karachi.
The incident comes after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered PEMRA to restore ARY NEWS cable service within an hour and threatened punishment against the regulatory authority’s head in the event of non-compliance.
Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah presided over the hearing of a petition challenging the suspension of ARY News cable transmission. He directed that Information Secretary Shahera Shahid and Pemra Chairman Saleem Baig appear in court on Monday to explain why the channel was pulled off the air on August 8 and why no steps were made to restore it.
“If the channel is not restored within an hour,” the chief judge threatened, “the PEMRA chairman will have to come before the court on Monday.”
The chief justice had taken up a plea filed by a group of ARY Communications journalists. Barristers Aitzaz Ahsan and Gohar Ali Khan filed the case on behalf of journalist Azhar Farooq and others, who claimed that the Aug. 8 suspension of ARY News transmission had jeopardised their livelihood.
PEMRA has halted the transmission of ARY News for the last 23 days.
The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a contempt of court notice to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman Saleem Baig on August 25 in response to a petition against the non-implementation of the court’s decision to restore the ARY News broadcast.
It is worth noting that, in a fresh attack on the media community, the Ministry of Interior terminated the NOC of ARY News without providing any warning.
“The NOC given in favour of M/S ARY Communications Private (Ltd.) is terminated with immediate effect and until further orders on the basis of unfavourable reports from agencies,” according to the notification sent to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on August 11.
Earlier, on August 10, the Sindh High Court ordered PEMRA and cable companies to immediately restore ARY News transmission, which had been stopped on government directives.
The Sindh High Court stayed the show-cause notice issued by PEMRA to ARY News in a 10-page decision. According to ARY News, the court also barred the media regulating authority from terminating TV channel licences until the next hearing.
ARY News has gone off the air in several regions of the nation prior to the delivery of the notification.
Transmission of ARY News was halted in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, and other places.
Soon after it was reported that PEMRA had ordered the suspension for grounds including a comment made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shehbaz Gill, ARY News distanced itself from Gill’s statement and published a statement on the situation.
According to the police, Gill was detained for “making remarks against governmental institutions and encouraging people to insurrection.”
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has severely condemned the ARY News interruptions and urged Pakistan’s regulatory authorities not to take networks off the air arbitrarily.