ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has directed news channels to be careful while discussing developments in the Middle East, with particular reference to the prevailing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In a directive issued to all licensed news channels on Wednesday, Pemra directed the media to be careful when airing discussions about the current standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The authority referred to a recently aired controversial programme, which forced the channel’s management to apologise and issue a clarification.

The two-page directive said that the talk show in question did not consider the traditional and cultural relations with other countries and that the media’s careless attitude could damage diplomatic relations with friendly nations.

The notification said it was unfortunate that certain talk show hosts had used language that could have hurt or offended the audience and reminded news channels that discussion promoting sectarianism was not permitted under the National Action Plan.

Pemra has directed the senior management of news channels to oversee the content of their programmes, talk shows and news reports relating to Saudi-Iran relations.

The Pemra notification, signed by Operations Man-ager Fakhruddin Mughal, ordered all television channels to follow the guidelines issued by the authority and to avoid broadcasting controversial views.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2016

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