ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has directed Neo TV to air entertainment content only and stop airing news and current affairs programmes as it does not possess a licence for it.
The directive by the regulatory authority came on Thursday as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed the channel’s plea for change of its category from “entertainment” to “news and current affairs”.
Pemra had issued show-cause notices to the Neo TV management since its launch in 2015 that it had obtained a licence to operate an entertainment channel only and airing news and current affairs was contradictory to the terms and conditions of the licence.
However, the channel responded to the show-cause notice by the authority, requesting for the change of its category from entertainment to news and current affairs. But the request was turned down by Pemra as the official policy did not permit it. Consequently, the channel approached the IHC, but the court dismissed the request for change of category.
Pemra once again directed the channel on Thursday to immediately revert to its original programming — that is entertainment — and report to it within seven days.
Pemra has also warned the channel that in case of non-compliance and repeated violation, strict legal action will be initiated against the licensee under the Pemra Ordinance.
Pemra has also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the channel for violation of its laws.
Meanwhile, a senior official of Pemra said that several other satellite channels have been operating without proper licences to air news and current affairs content and expressed the hope that their cases would also be decided by courts soon.
Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2020