Media regulator says it has received several complaints against content that doesn’t depict the ‘true picture’ of Pakistani society
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Thursday directed all local and satellite television channels to “refrain from airing caress/hug scenes” in dramas, alleging it was receiving “numerous” complaints against such content from the general public.
“A considerable stratum of the society believes that dramas are not depicting true picture of Pakistani society,” read the notification. “Hugs/caress scenes/extramarital relations, vulgar/bold dressing, bed scenes, and intimacy of married couple are being glamorized in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society,” it added.
Alleging that “prevalent trends” in Pakistani dramas that feature “indecent dressing, caressing, bed scenes and gestures, sensitive/controversial plots and unnecessary details of event(s)” are “highly disturbing” for views, PEMRA claimed it had received “numerous complaints” about this content through the Pakistan Citizens Portal, PEMRA Complaints Call Center and Feedback System and social media.
In view of this, it said, “all satellite TV channels are hereby directed to refrain from airing caress/hug scenes in dramas and properly review the content of the dramas through in house monitoring committee and edit/amend the same by giving due consideration to the above reservations and apprehensions of the viewers.”
Pakistanis on social media reacted to the advisory with outrage, questioning how showing affection between married couples was a violation of Pakistani culture. Others pointed out that that media regulator had yet to issue any similar directive banning depictions of domestic violence or gratuitous violence.
“PEMRA finally got something right: Intimacy and affection between married couples isn’t ‘true depiction of Pakistani society’ and must not be ‘glamorized’,” read one tweet posted by lawyer Reema Omer. “Our ‘culture’ is control, abuse and violence, which we must jealously guard against the imposition of such alien values,” she added.