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PEMRA’s private members announce to shut Geo TV network

PEMRA_ meeting_on GeoLahore: Private members of the PEMRA have decided to shut down the most viewed Geo TV network’s three television channels on ministry of defence application .

Whereas PEMRA’s spokesman disowned the decision by the members and claimed that Tuesday’s meeting had no legal standing.He refuted the private members and said private members meeting was not according to the roles and they have no right to made such decision.

Member PEMRA Mian Shams while talking to media said the licences of Geo News, Geo Tez and Geo Entertainment have been suspended and they and later would be cancelled in next meeting that is due on May 28 .

He claimed that it was unanimously decided in the meeting that the licence for Geo News be cancelled.

However, due to a legal formality that could not be completed, the recommendations were send to the Council of Complaints, advising that they respond before May 28, the date for the next meeting of PEMRA, Shams said.He said these channels have been ordered to be taken off air and their offices will be sealed.He added that it was the government’s job to implement the recommendation.

State-run PTV quoted a PEMRA spokesman as saying that no meeting was held today and the reported meeting by some private members was “illegal”.

Besides Shams, four other private members of the media authority attended the daylong meeting which included Israr Abbasi, Shama Parveen, Zeba Hussain and Fariha Iftikhar.

PEMRA member Abbasi said that one-third members were present during the meeting today.

“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 .

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 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.

“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.

On the other hand,convener council of Pakistan press clubs Arshad Ansari  after telephonic conversation with the members has rebuffed the private members of the PEMRA and said that journalist community will not bear closing of Geo News.Thousands of people earn their bread and butter after working the Geo News,if government tried to make such foolish decision ,journalists would be on roads from Khebar to Karachi,he added.

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