A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, on Monday directed Bol News to immediately cease airing all 'hateful content' or face contempt of court charges.

During the hearing, the apex court addressed the TV channel's director of operations, directing him to submit an assurance "within half an hour" that the channel would not air any content that incites hatred.

If the channel continued to broadcast hateful content, the court said, Amir Liaquat and all those involved in the airing of such content would be held in contempt of court.

The court also said it would consider a permanent ban on the channel in case of non-compliance.

Bol News, in response, submitted a signed undertaking in the Supreme Court as soon as the bench returned from a half-hour recess, vowing to refrain from airing the 'Aisa Nahi Chalay Ga' programme hosted by Aamir Liaquat until further notification by the apex court.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had banned Aamir Liaquat's programme after he levelled allegations of blasphemy against civil society activists and bloggers.

Pemra, in its Jan 26 notification to Bol News banning the programme, had noted that Aamir Liaquat had used derogatory words “which could not be repeated here”.

The notification added that usage of such language is "a violation" of several clauses and rules of the Pemra Ordinance and its code of conduct.

A day after the notification, Pemra had to issue a show-cause notice to Bol News for flouting the authority's directives after the channel went ahead with broadcasting the banned programme.

The regulatory body also directed the channel's chief executive officer to submit its response by Febuary 7, 2017.

Pemra had noted that if the channel failed to defend itself, the authority had the "powers to suspend the programme under section 27 of Pemra rules, impose a fine of up to one million rupees under section 29, suspend the license of the channel under section 30 or cancel the license of the channel under section 30".

However, on the same day, the Sindh High Court (SHC), hearing a petition filed by Bol News, had issued a stay order against Pemra's ban.

Following the SHC's ruling, Pemra had petitioned the Supreme Court against the SHC's stay and issued a separate statement that it would fight to establish its writ and would challenge all cases in court.

The Supreme Court will resume hearing the case on Feb 8.

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