Islamabad 13 August, Islamabad : In a unique move the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has Revoked the operating License of ARY News after the security clearance of the channel was removed from the Ministry of Interior, paving the way for its permanent closing.In a statement issued by the Ministry, the Ministry stated: “The NOC issued in favor of M/S ARY Communications Pvt Limited (ARY News) is annulled with immediate effect will be in effect until further orders are issued on the basis of adverse reports from agencies.”
The decision taken by Pemra was taken at its 172nd meeting that was presided over by the reappointed head Saleem Baig, as reported by Dawn news.
Sources in the regulatory authority claimed Baig was the chairman of the meeting in the presence of three other members, and four members comprising the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, and Interior Secretary joined the session via video.
After extensive information and background about the renewal of the operating Licence, the document of the meeting stated: “Ministry of Interior vide letter that was issued on 10.11.2021 had granted NOC/security approval for the renewal of satellite TV licences of M/s ARY Communication Ltd.However the Ministry has since Revoked the NOC in regard of M/s ARY Communication Ltd.(ARY News) via a letter which was dated 11.8.2022.
“Foregoing in view and based on the fact that the obligatory obligation of security clearance is not being met since NOC was withdrawn by the Ministry of Interior, the request of M/s ARY Communication Ltd.for renewal of Licence for a second time of 15 years could be viewed as a snub by the authorities.”
The decision to close the channel’s news program was received with widespread disapproval, Dawn news reported.
The ARY management slammed the ban and claimed that it was harmed by the federal government.
This is similar to the “economic murder of more than 4,000 journalists who work with the news channel” the statement stated and added that the Ministry’s notice will be taken to courts, as it was carried out without any notice.
Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) President Azhar Abbas has criticized the move as an “excessive measure” and claimed that such actions haven’t resulted in any success.He demanded that the government immediately reverse the policy, Dawn reported.
PPP Leader and former senator Farhatullah Babar tweeted that the use of state power “arbitrarily will backfire”.
“There could be a myriad of good reasons, but the question of the person who can cancel the order, how and if due process is adhered to must be addressed.
The effects of (the) law of diminishing returns are already obvious,” he tweeted.