KARACHI: The British broadcast media watchdog has “revoked” all licences held by the ARY Network because it has “ceased to provide the licensed services”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the watchdog, known as Ofcom, said it had revoked licences of all six channels owned by the ARY Network.

“The ARY Network held six Television Licensable Content Service (‘TLCS’) licences granted under Part 1 of the Broadcasting Act 1990,” said the Ofcom statement. “These licences were used to broadcast the following channels: ARY Digital, ARY QTV, ARY News, ARY World News, QTV–Islamic Education Channel and ARY Entertainment.”

On Jan 27, the statement added, Ofcom had notified ARY Network that it had decided to revoke the licences, subject to their representations, because the company had ceased to provide all six of the services.

“ARY Network had ceased trading on Dec 31, 2016, and had been placed into voluntary liquidation on Jan 12, 2017,” said the statement.

It emerged last month that Ofcom had started an investigation that could lead to ARY losing its licences to broadcast in the UK. Ofcom said it was investigating the operations of all the six television channels run by the ARY Network.

In December, a British court ruled that ARY had defamed Jang group’s chief editor Mir Shakilur Rehman by alleging that he had links with the CIA, Mossad and RAW. It also accused him of committing blasphemy and taking covert funds from foreign governments in order to promote their agenda.

Besides having to pay £185,000 in damages, the network also faces legal costs of over £2 million. And, in a legal first in the UK, it was told to broadcast the summary of the judgement against it.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2017