Will Apple remove ‘Geo’,’ Jang’ and ‘The News International’ iOS apps from iTunes Store?

As per CNN iReport, Apple’s motion to dismiss the case rejected by U.S Federal Court.

Apple to either remove the trademark infringing apps by Independent Media Corporation from iTunes store or face the legal proceedings

Just when you think Geo Network would not dare to create another embarrassing scene on an international level for Pakistani Media after the infamous faux pas with their rendezvous with Hindustan Times back in 2013, Geo Network proves to top their earlier mistake off by again making Pakistan’s name hit the news for all the wrong reasons. International Technological circles are abuzz with the latest Trademark Infringement suit being faced by Apple Inc for offering Geo Network’s apps: “Geo News”, “Jang” and “The News International” on iTunes store.

As per the news report on CNN iReport, Apple Inc.  is facing a legal suit (No. 1:13-CV-13130-RWZ), filed by a person named Naeem Ahmed, who claims to own the copyright and trademark usage of the terms “JANG” “GEO” and “THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL”, which happen to be the names of the applications being offered by Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited (Parent company of Geo Network and Daily Jang) through the Apple’s iTunes Store.

apple Geo News iphone app trademark

Previously, Facebook also restricted access to ‘Daily Jang’ and ‘The News International’ official facebook pages in USA, UK and Canada based on the trademark infringement. Google Play, the android app market, has already removed the trademark infringing android apps from being offered in the Play Store to android users based on the trademark infringement claim. Apple, however, opted to serve a ‘Motion to Dismiss’ the trademark infringement notice, in response to which District Justice, of United States Federal Court for District of Massachusetts, has denied Apple’s “Motion to Dismiss” the complaint.

Trademark Infringement seems to merely add a “feather in the cap” for Mir Shakeel ur Rahman, owner of Geo News and Daily Jang, who is no stranger to controversy and lawsuits. Be it tax evasions and financial misrepresentation amounting to millions of Rupees or using his media enterprise for blackmailing, manipulation and promoting paid foreign agendas, the grimy history of Mir Shakeel ur Rahman’s career offers a wide array of utter disregard to laws and ethical boundaries. Despite all the evidences available and even broadcasted on online media, talk shows as well as the “Khara Sach” book published by Mubasher Lucman, the legal and regulatory authority are continuing their act of obliviousness.

Whether Apple decides to fight the legal battle or look for an out-of-settlement after the backlash by removing the controversial infringing apps of Jang, Geo and The News International from its iTunes store, the damage done to Pakistani Media Industry’s reputation and its morality has been done irrevocably by this disregard to intellectual property practiced by Geo Network on an international scale. The Government of Pakistan as well as the concerned regulatory body, PEMRA, should also take notice of the disciplinary violence of international laws at the part of Jang and Geo Network.

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Big Names in Pakistani Media Making the Move to BOL TV

  • Kamran Khan, Talat Hussain, Shahzeb Khanzada, Jasmine Manzoor among the names billed to be the part of BOL Network.

  • Top Management and Technical Staff of other Media Houses also rumoured to make the move.

Summer is not over yet in Pakistan but the Big Birds of Pakistani Media have already started the migration to warmer and greener pastures. With the advent of Bol Network in the Pakistani Media, a shock wave has been created, ripple effects of which can be seen throughout the media scene in Pakistan. From Newscasters & leading Anchorpersons to the top management of all leading media groups of Pakistan have allegedly signed on to become the part of , what Bol TV terms as, “The Media Revolution” in Pakistan.

As per the latest buzz in the media circles, many big names in Pakistani Television and Print industry, including Geo Network’s pioneer anchorperson Kamran Khan as well as previously associated anchorperson Sana Bucha, Express News’ Shahzeb Khanzada, Director (News) Dawn News Zahid Mazhar and Samaa TV’s previously headlining anchor Jasmine Manzoor, are billed to be the part of the upcoming Bol Network. The resignation by Express News’ senior anchorperson Talat Hussain is also reported to be a step towards joining the same group. Many renowned newscasters such as Ayesha Bukhsh and Junaid Ahmed have also been approached reportedly.

Other than the on-camera professionals, the top management and technical staff are also said to be making the move to BOL; with MD Geo Network, Azhar Abbas resigning from GEO network already rumored to already have joined BOL TV.

While few consider this pool of powerful media personalities at one platform a red flag for all other media houses who would have to face a tough competition from a newcomer in the race for ratings and ultimately, advertisement revenue; many journalists and media personalities consider the start of BOL TV a change, that will provide good working conditions and employment opportunities for the present and upcoming media professionals. Along with it, a new media house with a pool of experienced  media professionals might put an end to the tyranny created by a few media houses and will prove to be a step towards developing a more mature and responsible Pakistani media. Only the time will unfold if the claimed media revolution will do its bidding or not.

GEO Network blatantly violates PEMRA’s policies yet PEMRA stays silent

Petition filed against GEO Network’s channel Geo Kahani for airing objectionable content and violating PEMRA’s policies.

* GEO Network violated the PEMRA policy for all its entertainment channels.
* GEO Kahani airing more than 40% – 70% foreign content against allowed limit of 6%.
* PEMRA’s failure to enforce its policy on GEO Network is discriminatory.
* Petition demands cancellation of GEO Kahani’s license.

Violating the PEMRA policies by airing more than 40% foreign content, Pakistan’s largest law firm has filed a petition on behalf of URDU1 against ‘GEO Kahani’ which comes under the banner of GEO/Jang Network.
GEO Network is on a foreign agenda; promoting foreign content consequently Pakistan being subjected to cultural invasion.

According to PEMRA’s policy, 10% of the entire broadcast content of any entertainment channel can be foreign. Out of this, 4% of foreign content should be English and the remaining 6% can be non-English i.e. dubbed in Urdu or India.
GEO Kahani, however is clearly violating PEMRA policy by broadcasting more than 40% – 70% of foreign content as of today, even after the petition.

Holding power in the industry doesn’t give anyone the right to break laws. PEMRA being the lawful authority is responsible for taking actions against all such illegitimate activities. While in GEO’s case, no such action has taken on this open violation.

It has always been the case that GEO Group influences power circles through its dominancy. Does this mean it also has an influence on PEMRA? Is PEMRA covering GEO or will they take the stand and cancel GEO Kahani’s license in the light of this evidence!

Here’s what the petition states:

  • Geo Network violated the PEMRA policy for all entertainment channels that states that only 10% of the entire broadcasting content can be foreign out of which 4% should be English content while rest of the 6% can include Non-English (Indian or other) content.
  • The Programming of Geo Kahani, a part of Geo Network consists of more than 40% of Foreign content which consist of Indian and other non-English foreign content dubbed in Urdu – which is in clear violation of PEMRA’s aforementioned policy.
  • PEMRA has not taken any action against this blatant violation of its policies by GEO Network on account of latter’s vast influence and power.
  • GEO Network is abusing its dominant position and political influence as Pakistan’s largest media group to oust competitors.
  • PEMRA’s failure to enforce its policy on Geo Network is discriminatory, unreasonable and arbitrary – which is in clear renunciation of PEMRA Ordinance.
  • It is statutory obligation of PEMRA to ensure licenses are treated equally and fairly and do not exceed their programming mix limits imposed in their licensing terms.
  • Such absence of action will have an adverse effect on diversity of electronic media in Pakistan and choice available to viewers.