SC seeks Pemra, PTA replies over air­ing of ob­scene con­tent on TV chan­nels

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

IS­LAM­ABAD—The Supreme Court on Tues­day directed the Pak­istan Me­dia Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity (PEMRA) and Pak­istan Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Author­ity (PTA) to sub­mit com­pre­hen­sive replies over air­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing of ob­jec­tion­able and ob­scen­ity con­tent on tele­vi­sion chan­nels.

The three-mem­ber bench of the apex court headed by Chief Jus­tice An­war Za­heer Ja­mali heard the case filed by late Ja­maat-e-Is­lami chief Qazi Hus­sain Ahmed and a let­ter writ­ten by re­tired Jus­tice Wa­ji­hud­din Ahmed to the Chief Jus­tice, seek­ing di­rec­tives to set ap­pro­pri­ate stan­dards for check­ing ob­scen­ity in me­dia con­tent, par­tic­u­larly dra­mas aired by dif­fer­ent tele­vi­sion chan­nels.

Dur­ing the course of pro­ceed­ings, the Chief Jus­tice re­marked that some TV chan­nels were pro­mot­ing spe­cific com­mu­ni­ties and chan­nels were bribed to air pro­grammes slan­der some­one they will. He re­marked that Pemra only is­sued warn­ings but did noth­ing sub­stan­tial. Had the Pemra’s code of con­duct fol­lowed prop­erly by the chan­nels there would have been no prob­lems, he added.

Jus­tice Az­mat Saeed re­marked that par­tic­i­pants of talks shows used slang lan­guage. The me­dia had the right to crit­i­cize but they have no right to cross the red line, he added. The court asked the coun­sel for Pemra as to whether anti-democ­racy talks were held on TV chan­nels or pro­grammes con­tain­ing con­tent against the ide­ol­ogy of Pak­istan and for pro­mot­ing ex­trem­ism in the coun­try were aired.

The Pemra’s coun­sel told the court that the Author­ity is­sued no­tices to tele­vi­sion chan­nels who had vi­o­lated the code of con­duct. On which the Chief Jus­tice re­marked that there should be ex­em­plary pun­ish­ment for those who vi­o­lated Pemra’s code of con­duct. He ob­served that if Pemra strictly im­ple­mented its Rules then such prob­lems could not arise. The coun­sel told the court that Pemra im­posed fine of Rs 1 mil­lion on a TV chan­nel but it got stay or­der from the high court. He sug­gested the Pemra laws should be made stricter. Later, the case was ad­journed for one month.

Mean­while, it is re­ported from Pe­shawar that Pak­istan Elec­tronic Me­dia Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity (Pemra) KP Coun­cil of Com­plaints (COC) would hold 66th meet­ing on May 26 un­der its Chair­man Shakil Chan­der. The meet­ing to be at­tended by Re-gional Gen­eral Man­ager COC, Ra­hat Ali and mem­bers in­clud­ing Ab­dus Sat­tar Khan, Farah Khan, Muham­mad Ir­shad, Syed Ham­mad and Far­rukh Sul­tan would dis­cuss var­i­ous agenda mat­ters.

The meet­ing would also con­sider com-plaints of con­sumers re­gard­ing Ca­ble TV and FM Ra­dio ac­cord­ing to a re­lease is­sued here on Tues­day. The con­sumers have been urged to send their writ­ten com­plaints to Sec­re­tary be­fore May 26. The meet­ing would also give com­plainants a chance to ap­pear for pre­sent­ing their stance in per­son.

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