Regulators

Notices to several Pak TV channels for 'violations'

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MUMBAI: Freedom of speech is being curtailed in the sub-continent. Media watchdog Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued show-cause notices to nine channels -- Waqt TV, Ab Tak TV, Channel 5, 7 News, Aaj TV, Sach TV, Roze TV, News One and Capital TV -- for airing 'fake news' between 8.00pm and 9.00pm on 22 March about a plane crash in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi. The channels have been asked to respond by 31 March.

PEMRA has also issued a notice to ARY News, a private channel, for airing "hate speech" against the country's prime minister Nawaz Sharif asking it to respond by the same date. The regulator has the powers to ban the channel's 'offensive' programme, cancel its operating licence and impose a fine of a million rupees.

Also, PEMRA issued a separate notice to Dawn News TV for failing to comply with its decision to suspend Zara Hat Kay talk show for three days. The host on 9 March had discussed a corruption case against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui despite a case being sub-judice. This act of violating the Authority’s order is tantamount to willful defiance and the Authority has directed the channel’s management to explain within three days i.e. before or on 27 March before 4.00pm why it defied.

According to the 'hate speech' details, a guest speaker, who appeared on 'The Reporter', a programme on ARY on Thursday, termed a recent statement of Sharif as "blasphemous".

PEMRA said it was a dangerous trend. The hosts of the programme neither intervened on this occasion nor stopped him from passing such comments, which was a violation of PEMRA Code of Conduct 2015.

In a separate case, PEMRA had informed the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) on 17 February to amend the advertisement of “Zong 4G” till 20 February before 6 pm;  otherwise, PEMRA under Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007 shall prohibit the said advertisement forthwith.

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