LHC rules Pemra violated its own law while conducting DTH licence auction

The Lahore Top Courtroom (LHC) on Wednesday notified Pakistan Digital Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) that it had acted in violation of its own ordinance while conducting bidding for direct-to-home (DTH) licences remaining month, DawnNews reported.

The judgement, issued through a complete bench headed through Justice Ayesha A. Malik, dominated in favour of broadcasters who were barred from bidding on direct-to-home (DTH) licences held through Pemra, DawnNews reported.

While explaining the courtroom’s order, attorney Asma Jahangir advised Geo Information stated: “The courtroom dominated that sub-clause three of Article 13 of the Pemra Rules-2009 have been towards the Pemra Ordinance, 2002, and the Charter.”

Jahangir had represented the Unbiased Newspaper Company (INC), probably the most plaintiffs, within the case.

Article 13(three) and (four) of Pemra Rules-2009, which the courtroom objected to, states that, “A licensee who owns, controls or operates at once or not directly some other distribution carrier licence shall now not be granted a touchdown rights permission or broadcast media licence.”

Jahangir used to be of the view that Pemra will now have to carry any other auction as the former one used to be held in line with rules that LHC has now declared null.

On the other hand, when contacted, Pemra Chairman Absar Alam advised First light.com that he has but to peer the 35-page judgement the LHC issued on Wednesday, subsequently, he reserved his feedback.

Courtroom’s judgement

In its order, the courtroom said: We’re of the opinion that Segment 23(2) of the Ordinance does now not mandate any prohibition which might lead Pemra to conclude that it’s permitted beneath the said Segment to oust broadcast media from distribution products and services and vice versa.

It additional said that the aforementioned segment “is in consonance with the spirit if wholesome festival and environment friendly financial system”.

It additional stated: “DTH Laws have long past past the accepted mandate of Segment 23(2) of the Ordinance and are inconsistent with the intent of the Ordinance, therefore declared to be with out lawful authority of no criminal impact and are hereby struck down. Unnecessary to say that the Rules and DTH Laws might be made as according to the intent of the Ordinance and now not in warfare with the Ordinance.

Respondent’s argument

In keeping with the judgment, Pemra’s suggest Salman Akram Raja argued that: “Pemra because the entrance line regulator has the facility to limit broadcast media license holders from running distribution products and services which incorporates the DTH license with a purpose to steer clear of undeo focus of media possession.”

Holding in view the Ordinance, it added, “Pemra deemed it important to broadcast media license holders from acquiring distribution licenses as the mixing of the 2 media enterprises would result in undue focus of media possession which in flip adversely impacts variety and plurality of content material within the digital media.”

Prior to now on DTH licences

The LHC had stayed the DTH licence bidding procedure via Pemra until a choice used to be issued on petitions difficult Pemra rules about granting licences. The keep order were issued on similar programs filed previous by way of the INC and others .

On the other hand, Pemra had challenged the LHC keep order within the Ultimate Courtroom, which allowed the auction to happen however held that the bidding procedure undertaken would stay topic to a last choice via the top courtroom.

“Let the bidding procedure, already fastened for Nov 23, be held and happen on the time and venue already fastened. It’s then again made transparent that no ultimate award of bidding or contract can be made via the petitioner (Pemra),” stated the order dictated via a three-judge Splendid Courtroom bench headed by way of Justice Mushir Alam.

Therefore, Pemra held the auction of 3 licences for DTH programming on Nov 23 with pledged sums achieving Rs14.7 billion mark.

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