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TV shows must seek clearance from ISPR before inviting retd military officers: Pemra

April 05, 2019

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Pemra notes that discussions featuring retired personnel "mostly switch from security matters to politics. ─ Dawn/File
Pemra notes that discussions featuring retired personnel "mostly switch from security matters to politics. ─ Dawn/File

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has instructed all television channels to seek prior clearance from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) before inviting retired military officers on news and current affairs programmes "to solicit their views on matters of national security".

The media regulator, in a notification dated April 4 (Thursday), stated that "concerned quarters" have observed that retired military officers, when invited on TV programmes, "are usually not fully conversant with the latest defence and security developments due to their service background and post-retirement time".

Pemra further noted that discussions featuring such retired personnel "mostly switch from security matters to politics, which inadvertently embroils military officers into political debate" — a situation it described as "undesirable".

Subsequently, the regulator directed TV networks to seek ISPR's clearance when inviting former military officers as "defence analysts", and if the discussion involves non-security matters, the guest be introduced simply as an "analyst".

ISPR's permission must be sought in either case, said Pemra, warning that it requires "strict compliance" on this.