ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Friday suspended the licence of a private TV channel for seven days for airing concocted , unverified and unethical stories about female students of the Government College University (GCU) Faisalabad.

The PEMRA said the false reports aired by ‘7 News’ not only damaged the reputation and goodwill of the university but also subjected the students, their parents, friends and relatives to severe mental and psychological agony and torture.  According to the authority, the channel’s licence will remain suspended from November 1 (8am) to November 8 (7.59am).

It said the PEMRA Council Of Complaints (CoC) Lahore had recommended suspension of ‘7 News’ licence for one month, however, keeping in view the financial position of working journalists as well as other staff, the authority decided to suspend the channel’s broadcast for one-week with a direction to air apology on screen during the suspension. 

At Friday’s meeting, the PEMRA expressed concerns over the unprofessional attitude and concocted reporting by the channel endangering the future of the nation’s daughters.

The authority further said that a letter may also be sent to the government of Punjab for initiating criminal proceedings against directors of the channel namely Sheraz Hashmi, Faraz Hashmi,  Romana Asif and others.

The authority also approved suspension of TV channels Business Plus and Zaiqa TV for 30 days on non-payment of their dues for the last several years on account of licence renewal.

The PEMRA on the recommendations of the CoC Karachi also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on BOL News programme “Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga” hosted by Aamir Liaquat Hussain for casting derogatory remarks and false allegations against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman for possessing a flat in London. MNA Shahida Akhtar Ali had filed the complaint against the channel . BOL News will also have to air apology as well for remarks against Rehman in the same programme at the same time, in the same manner and magnitude.

The authority also approved a request submitted by M/s Television Media Network (Pvt) Ltd/Tribune 24/7 for a change of satellite TV channel language from Urdu to English.

Three FM radio licences were also approved for M/s Professional Cable (Pvt) Ltd by the authority for the cities of Kark, Tank and Battagarram. Two non-commercial FM radio licences for Foundation University, Rawalpindi campus, and Institute of Business Administration, Karachi city campus were also approved. Approval for grant of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Distribution Service Licence was also accorded to M/s OPTIX Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Karachi for Lahore Telecom Region (LTR).

The meeting was attended by member Punjab Nargis Nasir, member Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa  Shaheen Habibullah, Federal Interior Secretary Arshad Mirza, Federal Information Secretary Ahmed Nawaz Khan Sukhera and PTA Chairman Dr Syed Ismail Shah. PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam presided over the meeting.