Immoral’ programmes: SC directs PEMRA to put a stop to obscenity

Pemra wants to hold a discussion with all stakeholders in order to set parameters for this purpose.

Qaiser Zulfiqar August 13, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Seeking a clear definition of obscenity from all stakeholders, the Supreme Court on Monday directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take concrete steps to discourage programmes and advertisements from disseminating obscenity on television channels.

Heading a three-judge bench of the apex court, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard a suo motu case regarding obscenity on television channels, following a written complaint made by Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed and the former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmed.

The court has given Pemra four weeks to complete the process and has directed cable operators and TV owners to submit compliance reports.

Appearing on notice, acting Chairman of Pemra, Dr Abdul Jabbar, assured the court that action will be taken to discourage obscenity on TV channels in accordance with its directives.

According to Jabbar, most of the complaints were against obscenity on compact disc channels showing Indian movies. He told the court that Pemra had fined TV channels spreading sectarianism and had issued notices to cable operators and TV channels for running advertisements and programmes containing obscenity.

The chief justice observed that effective measures should be taken on an urgent basis, directing the Pemra chairman to consult with Qazi Hussain Ahmed for developing a strategy in this regard.

Justice Jawad S Khawaja observed that a proper definition of immoral programmes and advertisements should be established.

The acting chairman, however, told the court that Pemra wants to hold a discussion with all stakeholders in order to set parameters for discouraging programmes and advertisements showing obscenity on TV channels.