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UK watchdog revokes licences of ARY Network

ARY NEWS MASTER LOGO WITH URDU

Karachi [Pakistan]: British broadcast media watchdog Ofcom has revoked all six licences held by ARY Network in the United Kingdom because it has “ceased to provide the licensed services”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Ofcom said it had revoked licences of all six channels owned by the ARY Network, reports the Dawn.

“The ARY Network held six Television Licensable Content Service (‘TLCS’) licences granted under Part 1 of the Broadcasting Act 1990,” said the statement.

“These licences were used to broadcast the following channels: ARY Digital, ARY QTV, ARY News, ARY World News, QTV-Islamic Education Channel and ARY Entertainment,” it added.

The statement said that Ofcom had on January 27 notified ARY Network that it had decided to revoke the licences, subject to their representations, because the company had ceased to provide all six of the services.

“ARY Network had ceased trading on Dec 31, 2016, and had been placed into voluntary liquidation on Jan 12, 2017,” said the statement.

It emerged last month that Ofcom had started an investigation that could lead to ARY losing its licences to broadcast in the UK. Ofcom said that it was investigating the operations of all six television channels run by the ARY Network.

The closure of ARY came after the London High Court ordered ARY to pay £185,000 in libel damages to Jang group’s chief editor Shakilur Rehman in relation to seriously defamatory allegations broadcast in 24 programmes which the court found defamatory, libellous and baseless.

The channel alleged that Rehman had links with the CIA, Mossad and RAW. It also accused Rehman of committing blasphemy and taking covert funds from foreign governments in order to promote their agenda.

Justice Sir Eady made the decision after ARY accepted that it had no evidence to support its allegations and that it did not defend the allegations at all.

Besides having to pay £185,000 in damages, the network also faces legal costs of over £2 million. And, in a legal first in the UK, it was told to broadcast the summary of the judgement against it. (ANI)