ISLAMABAD: The country’s electronic media watchdog has imposed fines to the tune of Rs70 million in 119 cases over the course of the past two years.
According to a report, submitted to the Islamabad High Court by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Absar Alam, the authority has issued 166 show cause notices to private television channels over violations of ethical codes.
The court, which was hearing a petition against an alleged indecent broadcast, was told that the regulator had taken 380 different actions against private television channels for airing “unethical” and “unsuitable” programmes.
The petition was filed by a lawyer, Mohammad Waqas Malik.
Report before IHC details actions taken against private TV channels since Dec 2015
The report revealed that the authority took a variety of actions against private television channels, which ranged from the issuance of show cause notices, advice, warnings, directives, banning of anchorpersons, suspension of channels and the imposition of fines.
The Pemra report said the authority had fined over 50 channels since December 2015 to date.
During that period, the authority also suspended the transmission of six television channels: Channel 24, Neo TV, Din TV (thrice), Silver Screen and Urdu-1.
Pemra also prohibited nine anchorpersons from appearing on eight TV channels.
ARY was issued 13 show cause notices, two advices, three warnings, fined 11 times and had one programme banned.
Channel 24 was issued 10 show cause notices, one warning and suspension each and was fined 17 times. The five TV channels of the Geo Network received nine show cause notices, five advices, were fined six times and had two anchorpersons banned.
Pemra reprimanded Neo TV 20 times, Din News 16 times, Dunya TV and Samaa TV for 15 times and BOL 13 times, while also acting against channels such as DawnNews, Express News, News One, Aab Tak and Channel 92, among others.
Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) Chairman Mian Amir Mehmood also appeared before Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui during the hearing on Tuesday.
The judge remarked that television channels are not following ethical codes, especially morning shows, which were against the traditions and culture of our society.
He said that television channels compromised journalistic ethics for the sake of so-called breaking news and asked both PBA and Pemra to submit a report in this regard within a fortnight before adjourning the hearing.
Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2017