Pemra warns TV channels against airing defamatory remarks
ISLAMABAD: In a rare but much-needed move, the otherwise inactive Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has warned all the television channels against airing live programmes, including interviews and speeches, containing defamatory and objectionable remarks, particularly against the army and judiciary.Pemra also issued an “advice” to all the satellite television
By our correspondents
March 18, 2015
ISLAMABAD: In a rare but much-needed move, the otherwise inactive Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has warned all the television channels against airing live programmes, including interviews and speeches, containing defamatory and objectionable remarks, particularly against the army and judiciary. Pemra also issued an “advice” to all the satellite television channels to install a time delay mechanism so that derogatory and objectionable remarks could be censored.Besides this advice, three television channels have been issued show cause notices for airing objectionable interviews of the MQM leader Altaf Hussain in which he cast aspersions on the defence forces. The three channels have been told that they have violated the law and rules by letting objectionable material go on air. In a separate “advice” to all the satellite TV licensees, Pemra noted with serious concern that the licensees had resorted to offer TV channels as a medium and platform for airing live interviews wherein defamatory, objectionable and derogatory remarks were passed against the judiciary and the integrity of the armed forces of Pakistan. Pemra added, “Furthermore, STV licensees are not installing/utilising time delay techniques, particularly for live programmes, which is obligatory under Clause 3.9 of the terms and conditions of STV licences.” Pemra reminded the channels that airing of content against the pillars of the state is a violation of Section 20 of the Pemra law and code of conduct for media broadcasters provided in the Pemra rules.” Pemra directed all TV channels to immediately refrain from airing defamatory, derogatory and objectionable contents and programmes failing which legal action shall be initiated against the violators. So far because of inactive and toothless electronic media regulatory system in Pakistan, private television channels here have been enjoying the kind of unchecked freedom where you can say anything against anybody. The Constitution, law and rules do not give such a licence to kill to television channels but because of the sleeping regulator — Pemra —, private television channels have been crossing all limits of decency, fair play and responsible journalism. Instead of behaving responsibly and pursuing mature journalism, the television channels entered into a mad race of rating for which even the judiciary and judges were mocked and cursed. No opportunity was missed to incite violence and create chaos. Political leaders were given hours and hours of free time, that too live, to level any kind of allegations on any individual or institution.No such media freedom is practiced in any part of the world. Media has to be responsible for which the role of the regulator is pivotal.