Geo TV gets reprieve as regulator rules suspension 'illegal'
| 21 May 2014
Pakistan's Geo TV is still on air after the country's regulator disowned a public decision to suspend three of the network's channels by five of its board members.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said the declaration by these members, made during a press conference on 20 May, "had no legal standing" because not enough board members were present.
Reportedly, five private members of the authority met in private and recommended to suspend the licences of Geo News, Geo Tez and Geo Entertainment. This meeting was not officially sanctioned, said a PEMRA spokesman after the announcement.
"According to Rule 3(4) of PEMRA Rules 2009, the chairman or as the case may be more than half of the total members can call the meeting, ie out of 12 members at least seven members can call a meeting," the PEMRA statement reads.
Many cable TV operators in Pakistan have already dropped Geo in recent weeks after the influential network aired controversial allegations that the country's spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), had attempted to kill one of its reporters Hamid Mir, who was shot in Karachi on 19 April 2014.
In response, the Defence Ministry has accused Geo News of "false, malicious and irresponsible reporting" that is "a continuation of the policy of the Geo Network for maligning state institutions".
PEMRA says it will schedule its next meeting after it receives the viewpoint of the Ministry of Law on the issue.