Islamabad, 06 March 2020 – Mudasser Chudhary:
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Friday issued an advisory pertaining to coverage of International Women’s Day — commemorated on March 8 — and warned TV channels against airing “unethical slogans, play cards with objectionable content”.
The advisory pointed out that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had issued conditional permission for the Aurat March, which is to be held on occasion of the International Women’s Day. In pursuance of the high court’s order, the Pemra advisory stated that some channels had “aired controversial content with special reference to the slogan relating to Aurat March”.
The regulatory body urged channels to be “mindful of the fact that telecast of such controversial content is against the commonly accepted standards of decency as well as religious, social, cultural norms and sentiments of public”.
Its also said that telecasting “such content is in violation of Section 20(f) of Pemra Ordinance, 2002 as amended by the Pemra (Amendment) Act, 2007, read with different clauses of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015 and aforementioned court orders.
“Besides, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on March 5, 2020, has unanimously discouraged the telecast of indecent and controversial content on television channels with special reference to the indecent slogans and banners relating to the ‘World Women Day’ campaign in Pakistan which is being marked on March 8, 2020.”
Pemra’s advisory further said that TV channels should “realise their responsibility and play their due role in building high moral values and character among the viewers”. It also instructed anchorpersons to be “careful in selection of words/gestures and avoid putting such questions/comments which are bold/explicit”.
Furthermore, a time-delay mechanism should be utilised in order to avoid airing any “inappropriate words/content”, the advisory said, adding that channels should also review the content of programmes, bulletins and talk shows through an in-house monitoring committee to ensure nothing objectionable is broadcast.