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KARACHI: FM station closed

Published Nov 15, 2005 12:00am

KARACHI, Nov 14: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on Monday evening raided a private FM radio station on Sharea Faisal and closed its transmission for alleged violation of Pemra by-laws. Pemra officials assisted by the local police raided the FM 103 radio station and seized its transponders, antennas and other broadcast equipment.

A representative of the radio station said Pemra officials with police raided the station and misbehaved with the staff. The police officials used abusive language and seized the equipment forcing the FM 103 to close down its broadcast.

He said Pemra officials had alleged that the radio station had provided its medium to relay the broadcast of a foreign-based radio channel.

He said FM 103 had been broadcasting news from an international radio service but after Pemra intervened into the matter, the relaying of news was stopped. However, a programme on analyses and views relating to the 10/8 earthquake of the foreign-based radio was being broadcast through FM 103.

A senior Pemra official, on condition of anonymity, said the radio station had been involved in infringement of by-laws of Pemra. He said: “We had earlier taken action against the radio station when it had been relaying news of a foreign channel but the management of the station approached a high court.”

He said the orders of the court were clear and according to them, no radio station could broadcast news or programmes of a foreign channel. “The radio station was violating the rules and we have taken action against it”, he added.

The matter was brought to the notice of Federal Information Minister Shaikh Rashid who told Dawn that Pemra rules were clear about telecast of a foreign channel programme through local radio stations. He said: “It is illegal according to the rules and no radio station can do that. I have asked the authority concerned to take an undertaking from the radio station in question and return the seized equipment to it.”

About a local television channel that has planned to telecast news of a foreign channel, Mr Rashid said the government was looking into that matter.