Media regulator says Pakistan’s laws prohibit the coverage of any group proscribed by the government
The Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Thursday renewed its bar on media coverage of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), stressing that the country’s laws prohibited media coverage of proscribed organizations.
“[The Interior Ministry] had declared Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) as a proscribed organization for being engaged in act of terrorism, acting in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country,” read the notification issued by the media regulator, dated Oct. 28, while referring to a notification issued by the Interior Ministry on April 15. It said that the restrictions on providing coverage to the TLP extended to all satellite TV channels, FM radio stations, and distribution service networks.
“It is reiterated that Regulation 18(h) of PEMRA (Television Broadcast Station Operation) Regulation, 2012 and clause 16 of the Electronic Media Code of Conduct, 2015 requires that the programs shall conform to the laws of the country. Further, Clause 3 (3) of Electronic Media Code of Conduct, 2015 prohibits media coverage of proscribed organizations,” it said.
The PEMRA directives were issued a week into an ongoing long march of TLP workers, who have been inching their way toward Islamabad despite several clashes with security forces. According to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, four police officers have been martyred in the unrest over the past week, with around 80 others injured, including 6-8 in critical condition.
The government, on the one hand, maintains that it wants to end the TLP’s long march through dialogue. However, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has announced that the TLP would not be allowed to challenge the writ of the state and would be treated as a “militant” group—that, per the interior minister, is free to contest elections nationwide.