ISLAMABAD: The management of 24 News HD on Saturday decided to shut down the channel after the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) suspended with “immediate effect” its licence for “illegal transmission of news and current affairs content”.
According to a press release issued by the media regulatory body the other day, the license was in fact issued to Central Media Network (Pvt) Ltd. for its sister concern Value TV which “illegally” changed its name to 24 News HD.
The channel was granted the license to air entertainment content but instead it was “persistently illegally and unlawfully airing news and current affairs in continuous violation of PEMRA laws”, the statement said.
The regulatory body said it issued a show-cause notice to the channel for violating the terms of its license and directed it to “revert back to its approved programming content” on May 7, 2020. But the channel “failed to adhere to the directions of the authority despite several notices and opportunities of hearing provided [to them],” according to the statement.
PEMRA, therefore, suspended the channel’s licence with “immediate effect till the time it reverts back to its original programming mix”.
Meanwhile in a text message sent to his senior managers, 24 News HD’s Chief Executive Officer Mohsin Naqvi said that he was shutting down the channel after getting “sick and tired with everyday blackmailing of federal government and paying legal fees every second day for challenging illegal PEMRA notices”.
The decision will impact 965 employees of the channel who have been given one-month notices of termination of services.
IMRAN TARGETTING THOSE WHO ‘SPEAK TRUTH’: PML-N
Speaking to media on Saturday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of suspending the channel’s license, claiming that he was targeting those “channels, media houses, journalists and owners who spoke the truth”.
In a tweet from the PML-N’s account, Aurangzeb condemned the suspension and demanded the channel’s “immediate resumption”.
“Taking channel 24 off-air without hearing its stance is oppressive and unjust. Imran’s government is cutting the very shoulders on which it came to power,” she said.