By: Saqib Ali Haidri
Muzaffarabad: District administration Muzaffarabad has closed all aired illegal and unauthorized channels from capital city on Friday. Decision of High court AJK on a writ petition in Mirpur has been endorsed in the whole state.
According to details, Cable operators in AJK have started cable based channel to promote their business and marketing purposes for long. Some channels were on aired for marketing purposes for more than 3 years.
The crux of the decision given by the AJK High court on the writ petition mentioned, “That finding no substance in the instant writ petition, the same hereby dismissed in limine. The Deputy Commissioner, Mirpur and Assistant Commissioner (S.D.M) Mirpur, respondent Nos. 6 and 7, shall ensure to stop all channels which are functioning without obtaining license from the competent authority. The office is directed to circulate the instant order to the aforesaid respondents for compliance.”
After the judgement of High court entirely cable and web based channels were curtailed by administration in Mirpur. Meanwhile, the decision permitted in whole State as district administration in capital city closed all cable based channels.
One of the representative of cable based channel ‘Capital News’ said, “district administration defied the court orders and forcefully off aired our channel; our channel was on prima facie stay order given by high court for more than 2 years.” Moreover the representatives of the said channel also publicized the photographs showing their channel logo locked with chain and forcedly closed.
Deputy Commissioner Muzaffarabad Masood ur Rehman on inquiring said, “News channels without lawful licensing have been banned by High court.” He said that there is nothing personal with cable operators. “They are cable operators and are not allowed to distribute the news channels; they should get license for running the news channels of their own.” Masood ur Rehman maintained.
It was decided in review meeting of National Action Plan held in Islamabad under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Pakistan regarding implementation of National Action Plan in all provinces including GB and AJK that all illegal and unlicensed channels should be off aired immediately. Chief or Army Staff, Chief Ministers of all provinces and Chief Secretary AJK was present in the meeting.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) rules and regulations cannot be applied in Azad Kashmir. However, sources told on the condition of anonymity that either Kashmir Council will extend PEMRA jurisdiction in AJK or may form a new regulatory authority similar to PEMRA for AJK may be formed before long.
Cable based news channels were started in 2013 by local cable operators in AJK to enhance their cable business and these channels are not licensed and are not answerable to any regulatory authority hence recognized as illegal and unauthorized channels.