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IHC stays issuance of new licences for TV channels

Updated May 08, 2019

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The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday issued a stay order on issuance of new licences for establishing private television channels. — AFP/File
The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday issued a stay order on issuance of new licences for establishing private television channels. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday issued a stay order on issuance of new licences for establishing private television channels.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed that issuance of any licence for satellite TV channels be linked with the final outcome of the petition filed by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA).

The high court also issued notices to the information ministry and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and sought their reply by May 22.

The PBA’s counsel, Faisal Siddiqui, argued before the court that Pemra had already issued licences for 119 television channels, while there was space in the system for only 80 channels.

He said that an application in this regard was pending before Pemra and the Sindh High Court had directed the authority to decide that application by the end of March, but instead Pemra issued the new licences.

When Chief Justice Minallah asked the PBA counsel whether there was a legal bar on the issuance of new licences, he said that while there was no space in the system for new TV channels, Pemra was still going to issue licences for new channels.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2019