Parliamentarians proposed a code of conduct for Pakistan’s electronic media to restrict their graphic coverage of terror attacks, on Wednesday.
According to Presidential spokeswoman Farahnaz Isphani, the code is not an attempt to control the media and that it will similar to one ‘practised all over the world’.
She also said that the new rules had been listed in a report by the committee that would become a bill in parliament’s next session, in August.
Among the restrictions, the bill also proposes repealing a law against journalists defaming Pervez Musharraf, the army or the government, on penalty of a five-million rupee fine.
Isphani defended the proposed restrictions, saying that “nowhere in the civilised world are murderers, terrorists and extremists given air time on the electronic media to expound their views.
“The Pakistani nation, our government and our military are fighting and facing death at the hands of these anti-state actors every day. Thousands of innocent Pakistanis have already died in this war.
“Showing dead, mutilated corpses and other extreme pictures and videos give psychological strength to the extremists and cause emotional grief to the people of Pakistan,” she said.
The proposed amendments will “bar the media from broadcasting video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and other acts which, may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorists or terrorism.”
The committee suggested that violators of the code be punished with a fine of up to 10 million rupees and imprisonment of up to three years for repeated violations, she said.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had promised he would undo the media law introduced by Musharraf after he imposed emergency rule in November 2007.