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PEMRA warns TV channels against airing anti-state content

By News Desk
September 06, 2022
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority building. —File Photo
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority building. —File Photo 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Monday warned TV channels, directing them to refrain from telecasting any content against the state institutions.

The regulatory body directed that any content either recorded or produced under the channels’ banner or aired during a live speech or a press talk against institutions should not be aired. Pemra, in its statement, said that despite repeated directives, TV channels continue to violate them.

“There remains no ambiguity in our minds with regards to the laxity of the licensees in ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct and of Pemra as a regulatory authority in penalising licensees on account of any violations of the Code of Conduct,” read the statement.

“If voluntary violations of the Code of Conduct or even negligence by the licensees to ensure adherence thereto is not penalised by Pemra, the Code of Conduct will be reduced to a mere paper tiger and be rendered absolutely redundant. We, therefore, issue a writ of mandamus to Pemra to ensure that the following parameters laid down in the law and the Code of Conduct are adhered to in letter and spirit and that no violations thereof shall be tolerated by Pemra.”

The regulatory body further said that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has also directed Pemra to “ensure proper utilisation of the prescribed procedure regarding delay mechanism.” It also observed that the TV channels telecast “unwarranted/objectionable views” without editorial control and utilising effective time delay mechanisms which could expunge undesirable statements maligning state institutions.

The body, in its statement, said that the rights given to the media are subject to reasonable restrictions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution or any law. It further added that the airing of hateful statements violates Article 19, directing the licensees to implement the Supreme Court of Pakistan order passed in suo motu Case No 28 of 2018.

The authority decided that the maximum time delay mechanism for live content is deployed, an editorial board or monitoring committee is constituted and. The regulatory body also directed the licensees to stop live telecasts of content/programmes and should implement para 2 and 7, adding that action will be taken against those violating the directives.