The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority PEMRA) for changing the frequency and placement of several private news channels, a private media outlet reported.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa questioned, “TV channels that are not following a certain agenda will face restrictions? Do you only want to watch channels that you like?”
This came as part during the hearing of a suo motu case regarding the 2017 Faizabad sit-in that disrupted life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for nearly 20 days.
Earlier in the same case, the SC had inquired if the news of restrictions being placed on TV channels was true. The PEMRA representative had maintained although no such measures were taken as alleged, the body had changed the placement of a few news channels, moving them down the list.
During today’s hearing, the bench ordered PEMRA to submit a detailed response regarding restrictions placed on news channels. It also inquired as to why its previous orders regarding ensuring the people’s right to information had not been implemented.
On complaints by representatives of a number of private news channels regarding restrictions on their channels and publications in some areas, the court had in April directed the deputy attorney general to ensure “that fundamental rights of the people including the right of information (Article 19-A of the Constitution) [are] strictly enforced and all newspapers and media channels are freely made available to the citizens of Pakistan”.