ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah Thursday concluded the case filed by Daily Times Editor Raza Rumi against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). In a petition filed through his counsel Yasser Latif Hamdani some four years ago, Raza Rumi had assailed the discriminatory manner in which TV ratings were being measured in the country by a private company, arguing that there was a pro-urban and geographical bias whereby large swathes of Pakistani territory were excluded from the exercise, thereby skewing the media to cater to the needs of a small percentage of urban middle class in clear violation of the Article 25 of the constitution. The petitioner’s counsel had argued that there was a single media ratings company in the country, which was privately owned and had as such created a monopoly in violation of both the PEMRA Ordinance and the Competition Act.PEMRA and the private media ratings company had earlier submitted before the court that the media watchdog had no jurisdiction in the matter as the case was pending before the Islamabad High Court. However, the Supreme Court in Crl.O.P. 108/2018, still pending before the apex court, held that PEMRA did have the jurisdiction to regulate the ratings. Consequently, PEMRA formulated the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) regulations, which contain clauses that seek distribution of television ratings meters on a non-discriminatory basis, making geographical and gender distribution a key obligation for the exercise. At the hearing, Yasser Latif Hamdani, the petitioner’s counsel, pressed for a clear direction that the TAM regulations be implemented in letter and spirit, a contention that was accepted by the court which ordered the implementation of the regulations in letter and spirit.It was the first case of its type on the issue and the decision will ensure a balanced, fair and representative media ratings to be issued by the rating companies, thereby breaking the monopoly of a single entity. Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2018.