ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Monday warned television channels to avoid airing content against the armed forces and judiciary.
In a statement, the regulatory body said it had issued directives to TV channels to refrain from telecasting content against state institutions while airing their talk shows, news bulletins, and live coverage of public gatherings.
“Moreover, licensees have been sensitised of the fact that ridiculing state institutions especially Judiciary and Armed Forces is against PEMRA laws and various judgements of the Superior Courts,” the PEMRA statement said.
In the past, the PEMRA has repeatedly urged its licensees to follow the authority’s laws and court orders in letter and spirit and refrain from airing “slanderous campaign/content” against any state institution, as the airing of such content, prima facie is deemed as “propaganda”.
The body has also directed all satellite TV channels to ensure the installation of an effective delay mechanism in their transmission, especially while covering public gatherings and rallies and to constitute an independent editorial board in compliance with the Electronic Media (Advertising and Programmes) Code of Conduct 2015 as well as orders of superior courts.
The authority further warned the satellite channels to remain vigilant and stop airing “malicious, obnoxious or derogatory material through their platform against any state institution including Judiciary and the Armed Forces”.
PEMRA has also warned the channels that in case they commit any intentional or unintentional violation, the authority’s law shall be invoked, leading to the prohibition of programmes/talk shows under Section 27 without any notice, imposition of a fine up to Rs1 million under section 29, suspension/revocation/cancellation of license/closure of transmission under Section 30 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 Amended PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007.
The statement comes a few days after the military’s media, taking note of the “imprudent comments” issued by some “important senior politicians” about the Peshawar Corps commander, termed such statements about Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed as “very inappropriate”.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had noted that “imprudent comments made by important senior politicians recently about Corps Commander Peshawar are very inappropriate.”
The military’s media wing noted that such statements “undermine the honour and morale of the institution and its leadership”.
“It is expected that the senior political leadership of the country refrains from passing objectionable remarks against the institution whose brave officers and men are constantly putting their lives on the line to guard the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan,” concluded the ISPR.
Apart from the criticism, ex-prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has repeatedly asked the courts as to why they had opened at 12 on the night of the no-confidence vote.