ISLAMABAD: A consultative meeting on Monday suggested Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), which had has been assigned the task to define the term ‘obscenity’ in a Pakistani context, to refer the matter to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and Parliament.
A statement issued by PEMRA said that the meeting also concluded that “any content which is unacceptable while viewing with the family transpires obscenity” and recommended formulating a committee to screen out unwanted content from television advertisements as well as regulating the rating of television channels.
The meeting was convened on the directions of the Supreme Court.
However, prominent media personality, Javed Jabbar opposed involving the CII in defining obscenity, adding that it was a complex matter and would be difficult to evolve consensus upon.
Earlier, the apex court had taken notice of the petitions filed by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed and former chief of Jamat-e-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed against obscenity and vulgarity being broadcast on the electronic media. They requested the regulatory body to make policy guidelines barring TV channels from broadcasting vulgarity.
According to the law, TV channels are barred from telecasting ‘obscene material’; however there are no set parameters to what can be classified as obscene.
During the meeting Chairman PEMRA briefed participants about various terminologies, connotations and expression used to define obscenity in different countries.
Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and its Constitution clearly envisages that there can be nothing against the Holy Quran, Sunnah and Shariah.
He specifically criticized news channels for spreading vulgarity in the guise of entertainment news particularly showing vulgar dances and songs in every headline.
The re-enactment and dramatization of crimes was also severely criticized by the participants as they said that this form of disgust in the garb of investigative journalism should not be tolerated by PEMRA.