LHC stays implimentation on orders of suspending NEO TV licence

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday stayed implementation on orders of suspending licence of NEO TV by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti passed the orders on a petition filed by Messers Fun Infotainment challenging suspension of NEO TV licence by the Pemra. Barrister Ali Zafar on behalf of the petitioner argued before the court that the company got the licence on name of A TV in 2009 and later, it moved an application to the Pemra for approval of broadcast of mix programmes, including 70 per cent news and current affairs programmes. He submitted that as per law, the Pemra was bound to decide the application within 100 days but it did not take any decision within the specified time.

However, the authority issued a show cause notice to the petitioner in 2014, without deciding the application, he added. He submitted that the petitioner challenged the notices before the Islamabad High Cour (IHC) which ordered the Pemra chairman to decide the application within one month. He submitted that the Pemra chairman rejected the application on January 23, 2015 but the orders were challenged in the IHC. Barrister Ali Zafar submitted that the petitioner approached the Supreme Court after IHC denied relief in the case.

However, despite pendency of the case in the Supreme Court, the Pemra suspended the licence, he added. He submitted that the Supreme Court allowed the petitioner to challenge the orders before the Lahore High Court on knowing the details. He contended that the orders of suspending the licence were illegal. He submitted that the authority decided the issue under 2012 regulations, instead of amending the licence under rules. He pleaded with court to set aside the suspension orders. At this, the court stayed implementation on orders of suspending NEO TV licence and sought reply from authority till June 19.