Media watchdog also fines the channel Rs. 10 million and bars anchorman Mubasher Lucman from appearing on any show.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday suspended ARY News for 15 days for “maligning honorable courts and judiciary.”
In a statement issued to media, PEMRA said the channel had also been fined Rs. 10 million. It said the channel has a history of not complying with PEMRA laws. PEMRA also banned ARY anchorman Mubasher Lucman, adding that he was barred from appearing on any TV program on any channel.
The media regulatory body was acting on orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC), which ordered it to suspend the channel and the anchorman after taking notice of an “anti-judiciary” program hosted by Lucman.
This is the second time the national watchdog has suspended a television station in little over four months after Geo News, the country’s then-most popular channel, was taken off air in June over a row with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Pakistan began awarding licenses to private channels in 2002, leading to a media boom and a sharp rise in critical reporting. But while the media has been relatively free to report on the country’s political parties, the Army and judiciary remain sensitive topics.