#GeoSuspended It Had to Happen, The licences of three television channels of the Geo TV network were on Tuesday suspended by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority watchdog for leveling allegations against the country’s powerful spy agency ISI. Three Channels ( GEO NEWS , GEO TEZ , GEO ENTERTAINMENT
English Translation PEMRA Spoke Person ( Mian Shams )
“I would like to congratulate all of Pemra’s private members for making this decision, keeping in mind Pemra’s rules and regulations as well as Pakistan’s constitution,” said Pemra private member, Mian Shams.
Shams said that Pemra is an independent entity and will make decisions as such.
“Pemra is an independent organisation, and it would have been better if a government representative attended today’s meeting as well and help us come up with a decision,” he said.
Shams lamented that apart from him, only four other private members of the media authority attended today’s meeting which included Israr Abbasi from Azad Kashmir, Shama Parveen from Balochistan, Zeba Hussain from Sindh and Fariha Iftikhar from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He added that it was the government’s job to implement the recommendation.
The private member said the recommendation has been sent to the Council of Complaints (CoC) and their recommendations are expected to be returned in a week’s time.
Moreover, he said that once the recommendations come back, a special committee will be formed to make a final decision regarding Geo TV’s licenses.
Shireen Mazari gives reaction from PTI and PEMRA’s decision
“The committee, which included Syed Ismail Shah, Pervez Rathore and Israr Abbasi, was tasked to review the Ministry of Defence’s application filed against Geo TV network for levelling allegations against an intelligence agency of Pakistan,” Dawn News reported without naming ISI.
The move comes nearly a month after the Defense Ministry called on PEMRA to cancel the network’s license, accusing GEO’s parent company (Independent Media Corporation) of launching a “vicious campaign” that includes linking the country’s intelligence agency with “terrorist outfits and activities.”
According to a PEMRA statement issued by the Press Information Department late on Tuesday, it read that the regulatory body “disowns the decisions announced by three members of PEMRA on cancelling Geo TV’s licenses.”
The statement, which did not carry any signature of a competent authority or otherwise, further said that a majority of the body’s members had decided in their May 9, 2014, meeting to refer the case to the Ministry of Law for a legal opinion.
Nearly 5000 complaints registered against Geo Tv Network ” PEMRA Spoke person stated in the press release, however The complaint against Geo Entertainment was already referred to the Council of Complaints Sindh. The CoC in its meeting called today has already recommended about status of Geo’s license. The minutes of the CoC are awaited and the Authority would consider this matter in the next schedule meeting,” the statement read.
The statement further clarified that Tuesday’s meeting of the members was “called without following the laid down procedures and thus had no legal standing.”
It said that according to Rule 3(4) of PEMRA Rules 2009, the chairman or as the case may be more than half of the total members can call the meeting, that is seven of the 12 members can call a meeting.
The statement said that Tuesday’s meeting was an informal meeting attended only by five members.
“The Executive Member was not even asked to officially convene the meeting and notify it through the Secretary to the Authority which is the set procedure.”
The statement declared that Tuesday’s meeting was convened by the members without any official intimation or invitation to other members in accordance with the procedure.
Geo has aired reports accusing the agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence — or ISI — of being behind an assassination attempt on Geo anchor Hamid Mir.
Mir was shot and wounded by assailants on motorcycles April 19 while he traveled by car in Karachi. No one has claimed responsibility for the shooting. It was not the first attempt against the journalist. Last year a bomb was found attached to Mir’s car.
Earlier on Tuesday, PEMRA official Israr Abbasi told reporters that the regulatory authority has the right to seal off Geo’s main office.
PEMRA consists of private members and government representatives, but no government official was at Tuesday’s meeting.