The Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday warned television channels to avoid broadcasting any content against the armed forces and judiciary.
In a statement, the media regulator said all licensed TV channels had already been informed that ridiculing state institutions, especially the judiciary and the armed forces, was against PEMRA laws and various court judgments. Noting that it had “repeatedly” urged TV channels to follow relevant laws and court orders, it stressed that airing any content against state institutions amounted to propaganda.
“PEMRA has also directed all satellite TV channels to ensure installation of an effective delay mechanism in their transmission, especially while covering public gatherings, rallies and constitute an independent editorial board in compliance of Electronic Media (Advertising and Programmes) Code of Conduct 2015 as well as orders of superior courts,” it said. “The authority further warned the satellite channels to remain vigilant and stop airing malicious, obnoxious or derogatory material through their platform against any state institution, including the judiciary and armed forces,” it added.
The regulator also warned that it could take legal action, including prohibition on TV shows/programs, fines, and potential cancellation of licenses, if any channel broadcast violations, either intentionally or unintentionally.
This is the second time PEMRA has warned channels over airing content against the Army and the judiciary this month. On May 9, it had issued similar directives to electronic media, as criticism of the armed forces and the courts surged, especially among supporters of ousted prime minister Imran Khan. The same day, the military’s media wing had also issued a statement urging politicians, journalists, analysts and the general public to refrain from criticizing members of the armed forces, claiming that such commentary “undermine[d] the honor and morale of the institution and its leadership.”