ISLAMABAD: In a new move against the journalist fraternity, the Ministry of Interior cancelled the NOC of ARY News on Friday without serving any notice.
The coalition government led by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has taken one more step toward the economic murder of the journalist fraternity by cancelling the NOC of ARY News without issuing any show-cause notice.
The cancellation of NOC will be meant by the economic murder of more than 4,000 media workers associated with the news channel.
The move came after airing the controversial statement delivered by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and Imran Khan’s Chief of Staff Dr Shahbaz Gill on ARY News.
The channel had also issued a clarification that Gill’s statement was his personal opinion and had nothing to do this the channel’s policy.
The channel’s administration condemned the suspension of its transmissions, saying the network is being victimised by the federal government.
Legal experts termed the government’s move as the ‘economic murder’ of the journalists’ families without giving the reasons behind the cancellation of the NOC.
Babar Awan said that the government has committed the economic murder of over 4,000 families of media workers. He added that it is needed to give reasons for the cancellation of the NOC and clarification is sought from the channel.
Awan said that the government was making attempts to suppress independent voices. He said that the move was apparently against the verdict of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and the government committed contempt of the court.
He condemned the cancellation of ARY News’ NOC and demanded the government to give clarification regarding its decision.
Senior lawyer Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan said that it is a legal requirement to issue a show-cause notice and listen to the reply in such decisions. Ahsan said that NOC cancellation could be challenged.
The senior lawyer said that the court will not take a long time to nullify the government’s decision of the NOC cancellation of ARY News. He said that the decision came under the contempt of the court as the SHC issued orders to not close the transmission of the channel.
“It cannot be done in this way that a bureaucrat takes a decision solely to issue a notification of the NOC cancellation. The channel cannot be closed after the decision of the interior ministry. The decision of the NOC cancellation should be immediately challenged to the court.”
Legal expert Abuzar Salman Niazi said, “According to PEMRA law, a notice will be issued to seek a reply. The court will not take time to nullify the decision and such steps cannot be taken in a democracy. The NOC cancellation is an unconstitutional and illegal move.”
On August 10, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to immediately the channel’s transmission across Pakistan.
The channel went off air in many parts of the country on Monday evening without any prior notice by authorities.
The SHC bench heard the plea related to the suspension of ARY News and issued directives to cable operators for the immediate restoration of the TV channel’s transmission.
In a 10-page order, the court had also suspended the show-cause notice issued to ARY News by Pemra. The SHC also stopped the media regulatory authority from suspending the license of the TV channel till the next hearing.
The court had also issued notice to Pemra and the deputy attorney general and adjourned the hearing until August 17.
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