Gone are the days when a family could enjoy a TV serial or any talk-show on Pakistani TV channels due to several reasons. One of the major reasons is obscene, abhorrent content and indecent, foul language that is being aired constantly of late.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan sought comprehensive and detailed replies from Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) over airing indecent, inappropriate and objectionable content and programs on TV channels.
Former Jamat-e-Islami leader, (late) Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed had written letters to the then Chief Justice for taking necessary and required action against those TV channels that promote obscenity. In their letters, they also mentioned to set the suitable standards to have the indecent content removed from the media, particularly on drama serials that run on different channels. A three member bench led by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali heard the case filed by the duo.
The Chief Justice stated that there are some channels that are primarily working to endorse some communities and groups while some channels take bribes to defame and insult any recognized public figure. He also added that PEMRA only issues warning and does not take any substantial measures to prevent such happenings. There wouldn’t have been any problem had channels followed PEMRA’s code of conduct and procedures right from the outset, he added.
Justice Azmat Saeed, another member of the bench, believed that the members and participants use lewd and slang language in the talk-shows. He further stated that criticism is fair only when it is within the set boundaries. PEMRA counsel was also probed whether anti-democracy talks were held and encouraged on TV channels and that how they would react if channels start to endorse extremism and topics that are against the ideology of Pakistan.
The Chief Justice maintained the stance of dealing with the channels strictly who promote obscene and inappropriate content. He also believed that such channels should be given exemplary reprimand that violated PEMRA’s code of conduct. Moreover, stricter actions need to be taken for the implementation of its rules and regulations.
In their defense, the counsel for PEMRA stated that they had recently imposed a fine of Rs 1 million to a TV news channel on the advice of the Council of Complaint, to which the channel got stay order from the high court. Later the case was adjourned for a month.
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