PEMRA issues fresh warning to TV channels for airing content against state institutions

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday while issuing fresh directives warned all the satellite TV channels of strict legal action for airing any content against the state institutions.

The media watchdog, in a news release, also referred to its directives issued earlier on November 15, 2021, and April 19, May 9 and 16, August 9, 29 and 31, and September 2, 2022 to refrain all the licensees from “telecasting any content in any manner (either recorded or produced under its banner or aired during a live speech or press talk) against state institutions.

“It has been observed with grave concern that despite repeated directives, satellite TV channels are continuously violating Authority’s directives and are also ignoring principles laid down by the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan passed in Suo Moto Case No. 28 of 2018 dated September 12, 2018 (reported as PLD 2019 SC 1),” PEMRA noted while citing para 19 from the excerpt of the judgment which specifically pointed out to a “writ of mandamus” issued by the apex court to the watchdog for ensuring strict adherence of the media channels to the code of conduct and relevant laws.

PEMRA also mentioned the Islamabad High Court’s directives to the media watchdog for ensuring proper utilization of prescribed procedure regarding delay mechanism.

It observed that satellite TV channels while giving coverage to a public gathering and speeches made thereof telecast either unwarranted or objectionable views without any editorial control and utilizing effective time delay mechanism which could expunge undesirable views or statements which malign or denigrate the state institutions.

“Whereas, the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan vests certain rights which are guaranteed under Articles 18 and 19 of the 1973 Constitution, but these are not absolute and are subject to reasonable restrictions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution itself and/or any other law made in this regard, as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in different cases and the case titled ‘Pakistan Broadcasters Association and 10 others petitioners Vs Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority through chairman and another-respondents’ (reported as 2014 PLD Sindh 630) and upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in its judgment dated 13-06-2016 (reported as 2016 PLD SC 692),” the media watchdog noted.

In case of any violation observed, PEMRA warned that legal action under Section 27, 29, 30 and 33 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act, 2007 shall be initiated as per PEMRA Laws.

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