ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday issued show cause notices to 14 television channels that aired Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain’s speech in which he made derogatory statements aimed against the armed forces of Pakistan.
They were followed by an advisory from the media watchdog to all television channels in the country to refrain from airing any content which could foster hatred, create a law and order situation or undermine national security.
“Pemra, in continuation to its show cause notice, advises all TV channels under section 27 of its law which prohibits them from airing any programme, speech or interview likely to create hatred, or which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order, or is likely to disturb public peace, or which goes against national security,” an official statement said.
The watchdog also directed all channels to ensure they use a time-delay mechanism to avoid any unwanted telecast and warned them that non-compliance of it directives would result in stern action under Pemra laws.
The notices were served at the urging of the federal government, which took serious notice of Altaf’s controversial speech aired live by private TV channels on Thursday night.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid sent a letter to Pemra’s acting chairman Pervaiz Rathore, saying that while the government believes in freedom of the media, it condemns elements which are spreading hate speech against Pakistan’s security institutions and harming the country’s integrity. He directed Rathore to take action against TV channels which violated Pemra rules and regulations by airing the MQM chief’s speech.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2015.