Around 500 cases against TV channels still pending with courts: report


ISLAMABAD: Around 500 cases are pending with different courts of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) presently, reported a local newspaper. TV channels that are operating on stay orders without licences are apart from those that have had fines levied on to them by Pemra.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, almost a month ago, advised Pemra to withdraw cases against TV channels that are operating only on stay orders without licenses, according to the newspaper. According to the PM, withdrawing these cases will reduce the burden on the public exchequer under the head of litigation fee.

Lahore High Court (LHC) has the highest amount of such pending cases (158), followed by Sindh High (137), Islamabad High Court (121), Supreme Court of Pakistan (37), lower courts (51), Peshawar High Court (8) along with those pending with other courts.

Pemra, under the chairmanship of Absar Alam, has imposed more than Rs75 million in fines on various TV channels, in the last two years for the code of conduct violation in different talk shows and news coverage reporting.

However, with a meagre Rs20million allocated for litigation, Pemra relies heavily on the services of junior lawyers to defend its verdict in court. Media houses, that usually have huge amounts of money at their disposal, mostly use experienced lawyers to fight their cases.

According to the report, mostly those code of conduct violation cases are decided in favour of Pemra where the violation was done against the judiciary.

Most of the other channels/shows have been permitted to continue their transmission under stay orders regardless of any show-cause notice, fine imposed by Pemra or licensing issue.