Pakistan High Court suspends Interior Ministry’s notice on ARY News

PTI | Islamabad | Updated: 14-08-2022 17:35 IST | Created: 14-08-2022 17:34 IST
Pakistan High Court suspends Interior Ministry’s notice on ARY News
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI
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A top court in Pakistan has provided temporary relief to a popular television station by suspending the Interior Ministry's notice until August 17 that banned its operations in the country for allegedly airing "objectionable content," a media report on Sunday.

Pakistani authorities on Friday revoked a broadcast permit for ARY News after it was taken off air following an interview with Shahbaz Gill, a close aide of former prime minister Imran Khan.

The interview, which was aired on Monday, was a planned move to malign Pakistan's powerful Army, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah alleged.

The Sindh High Court on Saturday issued notices to the interior secretary, the chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and other defendants for the hearing on August 17, the Dawn newspaper said. The ARY News management on Saturday filed a lawsuit in the high court challenging an interior ministry notice issued on August 11, directing PEMRA to cancel the NOC issued to ARY News "with immediate effect and until further orders on the basis of adverse reports from agencies". The counsel said the high court directed PEMRA on August 10 to restore the transmission of ARY News and restrained it from suspending or revoking the channel's licence until August 17, the report said. That order was not complied with and instead the ministry issued the notice to PEMRA, he said.

ARY News received a notice from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) which said that the channel was taken off air "for airing objectionable, hateful, seditious, based on absolute disinformation with clear and present threat to national sec by instigating rebellion within the armed forces with malafide intent to cause rift between govt and forces".

The channel's news director, Ammad Yousaf, was also detained following the interview, but he was released on Thursday after opposition from international media watchdogs, rights defenders and opposition leaders.

Meanwhile, media bodies have criticised the government's move to ban ARY News and demanded the authorities restore the channel. Expressing concerns about the cancellation of ARY News' NOC, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association in a statement asked the authorities to follow due legal process and give the channel an opportunity to explain its position, The Dawn report said. "The PBA has always supported responsible journalism and freedom of expression within the parameters of the Constitution. Any violations of the electronic media code of conduct endorsed by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan must be dealt with by following the legal process," it said. In a joint statement, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Afzal Butt and Secretary General Arshad Ansari noted that the government had ignored the Sindh High Court's order to restore the TV channel by 7pm on August 12, the report added.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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