ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday sought all the relevant records from Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) in a case challenging the issuance of TV licences beyond its capacity.

A single bench, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, heard the petition filed by Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and directed Pemra to submit a report, including international practices and whether it had the capacity to telecast more channels.

During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that Pemra was a regulator and it should not focus only on collecting money.

Pemra’s counsel, however, requested the court to send the matter back to the authority.

The PBA’s lawyer said the authority could conduct a study through an independent consultant regarding its capacity to run TV channels. Currently, he said, Pemra had an analog distribution system.

The Pemra counsel said it would be the choice of customers whether they wanted analog or digitalised subscription. There are more than 1,000 channels in India though they also did not have the capacity to run all of them, he added.

The lawyer said the authority was not forcing consumers to only avail of the digitalised subscription.

The court adjourned hearing till May 13.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2022

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