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Web Desk
January 16, 2020

PEMRA gives anchor Kashif Abbasi the boot over Faisal Vawda interview


Web Desk
Thu, Jan 16, 2020

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Wednesday issued a notification banning anchor Kashif Abbasi for sixty days for “acting unprofessionally” and "not intervening" when Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda produced a boot to put down political opponents during Abbasi's show.

The ban was roundly condemned by the Association of Electronic  Media Editors and News Directors  (AEMEND), which called for the ban to be lifted immediately. 

Vawda had earlier this week appeared on television talk show 'Off the Record' on ARY News along with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N representative Javed Abbasi.

He had caught the guests by surprise when he suddenly placed a black boot on top of the table they were sitting around.

PEMRA in its notification said the content aired live during the programme appeared to be a “willful attempt to debase and demean a state institution by dragging it unnecessarily in a debate.”

“Therefore, in view of the aforementioned reasons the competent authority decides that in the exercise of delegated powers of the authority, the broadcast or rebroadcast of the programme is prohibited with immediate effect for 60 days starting from January 6, 2020.”

The media regulatory authority further said Abbasi is also banned from appearing on TV for 60 days. During the ban, he shall not conduct his show or appear on the television channel he is associated with or any other television channel as a guest/analyst or expert.

In case of non-compliance by the TV channel, the authority said it shall proceed under PEMRA laws, which may result in suspension/revocation of the satellite TV channel license conferred to the television channel.

"In the said program, a sitting minister representing the federal government performed a questionable act and PEMRA, instead of asking the government to take action against the said minister, banned the show and the anchor who never endorsed the act of minister," AEMEND hit back.

"The anchor in fact cleared his position in the very next show. AEMEND believes the decision is against the fundamental right to a fair trial under Article 10A of the constitution. It is a direct attack on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution," the association said in  its statement.

Vawda mocks PML-N's unconditional support for Army Act bill

During his appearance on the show, Vawda had mocked the PML-N's 'unconditional' support for the Army Act amendment bill, saying the party was "lying down to kiss the boot".

"I am going to bring this [boot] to every talk show," he said. "This is how democratic the PML-N is. They lay down to kiss the boot," he had added.

Vawda also mocked the PML-N's election slogan, "Vote Ko Izzat Do", by changing it to "Boot Ko Izzat Do", criticising the party for deviating from its stance and lending unconditional support for the services chiefs' tenure bills.

Referring to the boot, the federal minister said: "it wasn't possible that this [the boot] has been shined by human hands".

"It cannot be shined by human hands. The limit to which they have stooped, it looks like the boot has been shined by their [the PML-N leadership's] tongues," he added.

"When it comes to your corruption or your accountability, you are ready to lie down and kiss the boot. You will stoop as low as needed," he had said.

PPP's Kaira had strongly objected to Vawda's language and said the federal minister had gone too far. He lamented how the PTI leader had dragged the armed forces into a controversy by alleging that they had pressurised the PML-N into supporting the bill.

Both the PML-N and the PPP leaders had subsequently left the talk show in protest against Vawda's language.