Iftikhar Chaudhry
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. — File photo/Online

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday observed that television channels were “spreading vulgarity” and PEMRA was doing nothing to prevent it.

The chief justice gave the remarks during proceedings on an application filed by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin and former Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed against obscenity aired on TV channels.

The chief justice cited some offensive programmes and advertisements and said that one find it difficult to watch them with family.

He also said that some of them were aired even during Iftar time, which should be avoided.

Acting Chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Abdul Jabbar, who had appeared in the court, sought a month's time to do the research, but the court denied his request.

The Chief Justice told Jabbar to categorise programmes with proper ratings - like it is done in the Western media - so that the people should know beforehand what they are watching.

The PEMRA acting chairman stated that the Indian channels were banned in Pakistan to restrain broadcast of any improper programmes and added that the Pakistani channels would now also be screened for any such programmes.

Jabbar further informed the court that the laws related to regulating the programmes were not well-defined. The concept about vulgarity was not clear. “Something which is vulgar to the complainants may not be vulgar to you and me.”

Observing that the TV channels now air press conferences and programmes against the judiciary, the Supreme Court ordered the PEMRA chief to present the related to such programmes in the next hearing.

The chief justice observed that the court was aware about the TV shows which were aired solely for the purpose of maligning the judiciary.

The court also observed that Jabbar was working as an acting chairman for the last one year.

The Deputy Attorney General requested the court to also take notice of the TV shows that run parodies of politicians and leaders. The Chief Justice observed that such programmes were “in good humour,” which were “enjoyed.”

Concurring with his statement, Justice Tariq Pervaiz said that such programmes were aired across the world and had never faced any dissent. Even in the United States, President Barack Obama's parodies are aired on TV, he added.

However, he said that such parodies and cartoons should not be insulting and should not target religion.

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