- Says live telecast of footage on different satellite TV channels created chaos and panic among viewers and Police
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Saturday prohibited live/recorded coverage of any kind of rally, public gathering and procession by any party, organization and individual etc. for today i.e. March 18, 2023 including from the Judicial Complex, Islamabad.
It was responding to a letter dated 18-03-2023 received from the law enforcement agency with regard to law & order/security situation in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
In its prohibition order, a copy of which is available with Business Recorder, the regulator stated: “the competent authority while exercising powers vested under Section 27(a) of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007, hereby prohibits live/recorded coverage of any kind of rally, public gathering, procession by any party, organisation and individual for March 18, 2023 including from the Judicial Complex, Islamabad”.
It said it has observed that satellite TV channels were showing live footages/ images of violent mob, attacks on police and law enforcing agencies.
“Such footages/ images were seen on TV screens without any editorial oversight during a recent standoff between political party workers and law enforcing agencies in Lahore wherein, violent mob used petrol bombs, injuring armless policemen and blazing police vehicles,” it said.
“Live telecast of such footages on different satellite TV channels created chaos and panic among the viewers and police. Such activism by mob not only jeopardises law and order situation but also makes public properties and lives vulnerable.”
In case of non-compliance, license shall be suspended under Section 30 (3) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007, without any show cause notice in the public interest along with other enabling provisions of law, it said.
According to Pemra, airing of such content was in violation of judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan passed in Suo Moto Case No. 28 of 2018 reported as PLD 2019 Supreme Court1, Section 20 of Pemra Ordinance, 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007, Rule 15(1) of Pemra Rules, 2009, Regulation 18 of Pemra (Television Broadcast Station Operations) Regulations 2012, Clause 4 (10), 5, 17 & 24 of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015 read with Section 27 of Pemra Ordinance, 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that Pemra was destroying the television industry of Pakistan by imposing restrictions on news channels.
While hearing a suo moto case, he also said the regulator was generating massive revenue by giving licences to channels.
He criticised the authority for banning broadcast on conduct of judges, describing the move as suppression of media.
He also urged Pemra to take action on false news but at the same time was of the view that people would simply switch to social media if limitations are imposed on news channels.