July 17, 2021
ISLAMABAD—The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued at least 365 show-cause notices to various private TV channels and took action against 28 advertisements and dramas based on violation of the code of conduct.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib told this to the National Assembly while replying to a calling attention notice raised by Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, Muhammad Anwar, Shahida Akhtar Ali, and others about the rise in obscenity on TV channels.
The minister urged that the PEMRA had the authority to impose a Rs1 million fine on a violation, and to date, it had imposed fines of Rs25 million.
He said the directives had been issued to PEMRA to circulate an advisory to all the TV channels next week, adding that a copy of the advisory would also be shared with the House.
Habib asked the parliamentarians to share their objections to any particular channel or drama, and the authority would take action.
The minister also said the PEMRA had a Council of Complaints that could be approached by the parliamentarians in case of a violation. PEMRA in the past had already taken action on applications against the channels, the minister said.
He emphasized that PEMRA had a complete monitoring system, and in the past, channels were stopped from airing objectionable dramas and advertisements.
The dramas and advertisements were allowed to air after the removal of objectionable material. “We ensure that freedom of expression is not affected while implementing the code of conduct.”
The minister further said that arrangements would be made for the members of the House to visit PEMRA next week so that they could personally inspect the procedure.
Later, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri referred the matter to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting.
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