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TV channels barred from covering F-9 park rape

PEMRA to suspend licences in case of violation

By Ahmed Subhan
February 07, 2023
A view of the Fatima Jinnah Park in Islamabads F-9 sector on February 5, 2023. — Online
A view of the Fatima Jinnah Park in Islamabad's F-9 sector on February 5, 2023. — Online

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned TV channels from covering the rape incident in Islamabad’s F-9 park — which took place last Thursday.

In a notification, the electronic watchdog mentioned that the move was taken after irresponsible coverage by a "few" channels, which had revealed the victim’s identity.

“It has been observed with grave concern that few satellite TV channels are airing reports with regard to a rape incident in F-9 Park Islamabad wherein the identity of the rape victim has been revealed which is in violation of clause 8 of PEMRA Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct-2015,” the notification read.

Using its powers under Section 27 (a) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007, the media watchdog prohibited the broadcasting and rebroadcasting of news and reports concerning the federal capital's park incident with "immediate effect".

The regulatory authority further said that licences of channels that do not comply with its directions will be suspended under Section 30 (3) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002, without any show-cause notice in the public interest along with other enabling provisions of law.

The notification has been issued with the approval of PEMRA Chairman Muhammad Saleem Baig.

The incident

Two armed men had allegedly raped a girl in Islamabad's F-9 area at gunpoint on Thursday, according to police.

The incident took place at night when two armed men approached the victim at a park in F-9, who was there with her male colleague, the first information report (FIR) read.

The gun-toting aggressors took the two to a nearby thicket at gunpoint and separated them, according to the FIR. The attackers beat the young woman up when she pleaded with them to let her go and even offered them money in exchange for her safety, the FIR read.

The victim, when she tried to raise her voice, was beaten and threatened by the attackers they would call their "friends" to join them. Her attempts to run away were also foiled by the attackers, the FIR stated.