Top Court sets aside IHC order to suspend Neo News license

Top Court sets aside IHC order to suspend Neo News license

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Supreme Court on Monday nullified the Islamabad High Court’s order to stop the transmission of Neo News HD.

A two member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Yahya Afridi, heard a plea filed by Neo News administration requesting the court to set aside the high court’s verdict.

Neo News’ counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar informed the court that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) made amendments without cabinet’s approval, which were against the law.

Zafar argued that PEMRA had given a licence to Neo TV under the PEMRA Ordin­ance, 2002, but when the channel applied for change of programming-mix, the authority rejected its application on the grounds that under the Regulations 2012, there could be no change in category of the licence.

The appeal filed by Neo TV against the decision of PEMRA was also rejected by the high court.

After hearing the arguments, the top court ordered to restore the transmission of Neo News on cable and returned to the airwaves across the country.

The apex court also directed Neo News to refer to the high court for seeking further relief from PEMRA.

Last week, the regulator authority suspended the license of Neo News, saying due to the non-compliance of licence terms and conditions and the orders of the authority, the body suspended the licence given to Neo News with immediate effect.

“Authority had directed [the channel] to stop violation of licence category by airing news and current affairs programmes (which amounts to contravening the Pemra laws) and revert back to its approved programming content," said the PEMRA’s statement.

Neo News had subsequently challenged the directives of the regulatory body in the IHC.
However, the high court dismissed the challenge and upheld the decision of PEMRA.