Media Law

Shutdown of Internet and Mobile lawandpolicychambers

Shutdown of Internet and Mobile Signals is illegal: says Islamabad High Court.

Did you know that the Islamabad High Court declared Shutdown of Internet and Mobile Signals as Illegal? Here is the amazing story of the case which was argued, back in 2018 by Digital Law expert, Barrister Umer Ijaz Gilani of Law and Policy Chambers. The case was triggered by intermittent, week-long shutdowns carried out in Islamabad around 23rd March, 2016. A number of courageous civil society members stepped forth to challenge it. Umer Ijaz Gilani Advocate High Courts argued the case, focusing on S. 54(3) of Pakistan Telecommunications Reorganization Act, 1996. Initially, the Court was reluctant. But after two years of relentless public advocacy, which is the hallmark of Law and Policy Chambers, the Court granted the petition. The judgment, authored by Mr. Justice Ather Minallah was celebrated not only in the national press but globally and remains displayed on Columbia University’s website. Eventually, it was struck down on Appeal by a bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial. The Supreme Court, perhaps because it was not well assisted, simply failed to appreciate the meaning of S. 54(3) and also remainder oblivious towards the emerging right of access to internet and telecom which is a logical corollary of rights already enumerated in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Click to Download

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SC rules PEMRA’s powers to regulate is not independent of the Council of Complaint

Division Bench of the Supreme Court in its latest judgment, titled as PEMRA versus ARY (C.P 3506/2020), dilating upon the powers of PEMRA to regulate the media channels held such powers cannot be exercised by the PEMRA independent of the Council of Complaint. SC held that powers conferred on PEMRA under section 27(a) of the Ordinance cannot be exercised in isolation,independentlyย  and without having resort to Council of Complaint under section 26 of the Ordinance which section empowers Council of Complaint to render its opinion on any aspect of the program. Dismissing the Petition at the end, the Court held as “we are of the considered opinion that Section 27(a) of the PEMRA Ordinance is not an independent and self–governing provision; it rather requires for its applicability the opinion of a Council of Complaints regarding the objectionable aspect of a programme or advertisement in terms of Section 26(2) of the PEMRA Ordinance read with the Councils of Complaints Rules. The question is answered accordingly.” Click to Download

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