ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has asked television channels to refrain from airing “vulgar/inappropriate content” on the upcoming Aurat March 2020, which coincides with International Women’s Day.
In a notification issued late Friday, the media regulatory authority warned that the airing of such content will mean a breach of PEMRA rules as well as court orders.
“Airing of 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,” read PEMRA’s notification, referring to the ‘Munir Ahmed Versus Federation of Pakistan and others’ case in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The regulatory body, in its notice, also referred to Article 19 of the Constitution, where “every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the Press, subject to any ‘reasonable restriction’, imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, or in relation to contempt of court or incitement to offence”.
In this regard, it said that the LHC has “ordered to observe the day in accordance with laid down principles enshrined in Article 19”.
PEMRA observed that some TV channels “aired controversial content with special reference to the slogan relating to ‘Aurat March'”.
The PEMRA, in this regard, directed TV 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 the public, at large”.
“Furthermore, airing of such vulgar/inappropriate content is not suitable for viewing on TV channels,” the regulatory body added, noting that its notification came on the back of public complaints over “such explicit content being aired on STV Channels”.
“Besides, the public has expressed reservations over projection of indecent banners and indecent discussions being carried out on television channels and lodged complaints on Pakistan Citizen Portal (PCP) and PEMRA’s Complaint and Call Centre, as well,” read the notification.
The regulatory body also underscored that the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting has “discouraged the telecast of indecent and controversial content on television channels with special reference to the indecent slogans and banners”.