UK watchdog cancels ARY’s licence


KARACHI: The British broadcast media watchdog has “revoked” all licences held by the ARY Network because it has “ceased to provide the licenced services”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the watchdog, known as Ofcom, said it had revoked licences of all six channels owned by the ARY Network.

The channels have been banned in Britain after the network failed to substantiate its allegation against the Geo Television’s owner Mir Shakilur Rehman.

“The ARY Network held six Television Licencable Content Service (‘TLCS’) licences granted under Part 1 of the Broadcasting Act 1990,” said the Ofcom statement. “These licences were used to broadcast the following channels: ARY Digital, ARY QTV, ARY News, ARY World News, QTV–Islamic Education Channel and ARY Entertainment.”

The ARY accepted before a British court of law that it had no evidence to prove its allegations. The Geo Group won all the 24 cases against ARY which accepted that all the accusations were false and could not be defended.

According to the British court’s decision, the ARY will pay Rehman Rs260m (2m pounds). In total, the ARY will have to pay 3m pounds or Rs400m. This amount includes legal expenses.

In December, a British court ruled that ARY had defamed Jang group’s chief editor Mir Shakilur Rehman by alleging that he had links with the CIA, Mossad and RAW. It also accused him of committing blasphemy and taking covert funds from foreign governments in order to promote their agenda.