ISLAMABAD, Oct 28: For the first time in the country's history, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has imposed heavy fines on three news channels for airing "false news".
"The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) decided to impose fine amounting to rupees one million each on three news and current affairs channels, i.e. "News One", "ARY News" and "Waqt News" on airing of false news which is a clear violation of Pemra Code of Conduct, Schedule-B of Pemra Rules 2009," says an official announcement after a meeting of the authority here on Thursday.
The Pemra authorities also took "serious notice" of airing of advertisements exceeding the prescribed limit (12 minutes per hour) under the laws and a fine amount to Rs500,000 has been imposed on those satellite TV channels involved in such violations.
The handout has no mention of the "false news" that was aired by the three channels, but the officials of the channels told Dawn that Pemra had imposed fines for airing the report about the removal of Interior Minister Rehman Malik from the cabinet.
The channels had also reported that Mr Malik had left the country for London with his family to avoid a possible action in the wake of the hearing of the NRO cases in the Supreme Court.
The officials alleged that Pemra had been pursuing the issue due to pressure from the interior minister and vowed to challenge the decision.
Meanwhile, Pemra also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Ravi TV for airing "illegal health advertisements" without permission of the federal health ministry. "The Authority has taken serious notice of the violations of Pemra laws by different CTV (cable TV) operators and imposed a fine of rupees one million each on LogiTech Cable TV Network, Lahore; Nasic Broadband Commutations, Lahore and Mirza Corporation, Islamabad. Furthermore the Authority directed not to renew/revalidate their licences till the clearance of all outstanding dues against these operators, including this fine," says the handout.
The authority also approved landing rights permission in the category of entertainment to "WB Channel" and "Afghan TV".
The meeting was presided over by Pemra chairman Mushtaq Malik and attended by interior secretary Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, information secretary Mansoor Suhail, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Sohail Ahmed, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Dr Muhammad Yaseen and executive member (Pemra) Dr Abdul Jabbar.