ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the acting Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take strict action against TV channels for airing ‘obscene’ programmes and advertisements and submit a report.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard a suo moto case regarding obscenity aired on TV channels. Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed and former Ameer Jamaat Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, had written letters to the chief justice against the obscenity on TV channels.
During the hearing, the chief justice observed that TV channels were spreading vulgarity while Pemra was doing nothing to prevent it. Appearing on notice, Pemra’s acting Chairman, Abdul Jabbar, sought a month’s time to do the research, but the court denied his request. The court also ruled that it was not forming a commission, but only granting a week’s time to the regulatory authority.
The chief justice cited some offensive programmes and advertisements and said that one finds it difficult to watch them with family. He further noticed that some of the advertisements were aired even during the Iftar time, which should be discouraged. He directed the Pemra’s acting chairman to categorise programmes with proper ratings – like it is done in the Western media – so that the people should know in advance what they are watching.
The Pemra’s acting chairman submitted before the court that Indian channels were banned in Pakistan to restrain broadcast of any improper programmes and added that the Pakistani channels would now be screened for any such programmes.
The court noted that TV channels were also airing programmes and press conferences against the judiciary and directed the Pemra chairman to get the record of such programmes and submit it before the court on the next date of hearing.
“The court is aware such programmes are aired for maligning the judiciary,” the CJP observed. The court also observed that Jabbar was still working as an acting chairman of Pemra while it had been over a year since he had been inducted.
The deputy attorney general requested the court to also take notice of TV shows that run parodies of politicians and leaders. The chief justice observed that such programmes were “in good humour” and that such programmes “are enjoyed.”
The chief justice pointed out to the Pemra chairman that even he failed to take notice of those TV channels airing programmes of obscenity which were pinpointed by columnists like Ansar Abbasi, Aurya Maqbool Jan and others, but the Pemra chairman failed to render his responsibilities.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till August 13, directing the acting Pemra chairman to take action against TV channels and submit a report.