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Strict punishments should be given to set an example: SC chides PEMRA

Strict punishments should be given to set an example: SC chides PEMRA

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali slammed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for failing to bar objectionable content on news channels. 

During a hearing today regarding the airing of objectionable content aired on television, the Chief Justice expressed his anger at PEMRA’s ineffectiveness in monitoring the content on news channels. 

“All it takes is one program to insult someone,” remarked Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali. “Anchors are bribed with money to conduct their shows. If the standard code of conduct is followed and implemented, all problems would solve by themselves,” he said. 

Justice Azmat Saeed gave his remarks as well, saying that PEMRA was only focused on dealing with obscene songs. “Isn’t there talk on television about getting rid of the democratic system?” he questioned. 

The Chief Justice said that PEMRA only issued advices and warnings. If the code of conduct would be followed, all problems would be solved. “Strict punishments should be handed out so that they serve as an example for others,” he said. 

PEMRA’s lawyer responded by stating that PEMRA had fined a news channel one million rupees on the advice of the Council of Complaint, after which the channel obtained a stay order from the High Court. He admitted that there was a need to make PEMRA’s laws more strict. 

“Isn’t sectarian divide not promoted on television? Isn’t extremist talk not aired on television channels?” he asked. Justice Azmat Saeed remarked by stating that there were also statements issued on TV against the ideologies of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal’s ideology. 

“Please do not enforce fascism on Pakistan,” remarked the Chief Justice. “Please don’t commit such acts that we have to obtain information regarding Pakistan from BBC. In the past, when a newscaster did not cover her head during a dictatorial regime, she was fired. People even referred to Manto as obscene,” he stated. 

The court adjourned the next hearing of the case till four weeks. 

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