Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has suspended NEO TV’s license with immediate effect due to illegal transmission of News and Current Affairs content.
Last week, the media regulatory body had issued a show-cause notice to the channel for airing illegal news and current affairs on a license for entertainment channel.
However, PEMRA revoked the license given to M/s Fun Infotainment Pvt Ltd NEO TV with immediate effect after it failed to respond to the show-cause within the given period of seven days.
The official Twitter handle of media watchdog announced this on Twitter:
PEMRA suspends NEO TV licence with immediate effect on illegal transmission of News and Current Affairs content pic.twitter.com/r5VuSSCwjw
— Report PEMRA (@reportpemra) May 6, 2020
Prior to this final notice, PEMRA had served multiple notices to Neo TV, but the management had been ignoring its directives and notices to abide by the agreement.
In its final notice, the media regulatory authority had warned the TV channel to stop news and current affairs transmission and revert to infotainment programming as per agreement.
Authority had directed NEO TV to stop the violation of license category by airing news and current affairs programs (which amounts to contravening the Pemra laws) and revert back to its approved programming content that is entertainment programming in accordance with the terms and conditions of the license.
How Did Neo TV Run News and Current Affairs for Five Years?
Soon after its launch in 2015, NEO TV challenged PEMRA’s notice in Islamabad High Court, demanding that the authority should change the category of the license from infotainment to news and current affairs. PEMRA maintained that the official policy did not permit such alteration to the license. The channel, however, succeeded to obtain a stay order from the court and ran its transmission for five years straight based on that.
In March 2020, the case was dismissed with the High Court upholding PEMRA’s decision. The authority took another month to serve NEO TV with a show-cause notice, asking it to restrict to only entertainment transmission as per the agreement or face the ax. The channel opted not to respond, hence, was shut down on Wednesday.