Authority dismisses 'hate material' complaints against television channels

Meeting commenced after protesters had been placated

Rana Tanveer September 30, 2016
Minority faith groups are increasingly at risk, not only of marginlisation but of murder, and few more so than the Ahmadi community. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Scores of clerics and lawyers surrounded the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) office on Thursday for taking up complaints against two television channels for broadcasting inflammatory material targeting a particular religious minority.

A scheduled meeting of the authority’s Council of Complaints commenced after the demonstrators had been placated. “The 65th meeting of the COC was initially disrupted by those who accompanied the respondents. One of them was accompanied by nearly 200 demonstrators,” COC Chairman Mehdi Hassan told The Express Tribune.

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Till then, he said, a decision had not even been taken on whether to hear the matter or not. In the wake of the development, Hassan said, he had informed one of the respondents that it was virtually impossible to arrive at an impartial decision.

Hassan said the complaint had been disposed of after hearing what the respondents had to say. He said he had also made mention of how the Constitution secured minorities’ rights in an order. Hassan said he had shed light on how it was binding on both, citizens and television channels to desist from proliferating hatred.

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Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya spokesperson Saleemuddin said the matter had been concluded without the community being taken into confidence. He said community representatives had managed to leave the premises with the assistance of police.

On September 15, the Pemra had taken notice of complaints on the airing of inflammatory anti-Ahmadiyya views by two television channels. The authority had then referred the matter to its COC for further action.


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