Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority (PEMRA) has warned private Television channels of action for airing any content which cast “aspersions against state institutions”.
“It has been observed that few satellite TV channels are airing content which tantamount to casting aspersions against state institutions including armed forces and judiciary,” said the directives issued by the media regulatory body on Monday and posted one of its copies on the PEMRA’s official twitter handle.
PEMRA termed airing of such content “violation of the directives issued by the Authority, provisions of the PEMRA Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct 2015 and the principles laid down by the courts.
It acknowledged that the freedom of speech and expression as fundamental right of every citizen, but clarified that “the right is subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the law in the interest of glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan, or any part thereof friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to the contempt of court [Commission of] or incitement to an offence.”
Therefore, all satellite TV channels licensees were directed to ensure strict compliance of the provisions of the PEMRA’s relevant laws, besides following the principles laid down in a judgment passed by the apex court in a Suo Moto case number 28 of 2018 and the judgment of Islamabad High Court passed in Criminal Original Number 270/2019.
PEMRA also directed the TV channels “to ensure that an effective time-delay mechanism be put in place and an impartial and independent editorial board be constituted as required under clause 17 of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct 2015 in order to ensure that their platform is not used by anyone for uttering contemptuous remarks in any manner whatsoever against any state institutions.”
“In case of any violation observed legal action under Section 27,29 ,30 and 33 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act, 2007 shall be initiated,” the body warned.
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