Neo TV fined for airing fake news about PM’s pay raise

Updated 08 Feb 2020

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The notice mentioned that the channel had violated the Code of Conduct 2015, and did not air the official denial. — AFP/File
The notice mentioned that the channel had violated the Code of Conduct 2015, and did not air the official denial. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Neo TV channel for airing fake news about the enhancement of the prime minister’s salary.

During a hearing on Thursday, the channel’s management was asked to respond to the show cause notice issued to it around a week ago.

“The matter relates to airing of the news that the salary package of the prime minister has been enhanced during a talk show. However, a rebuttal was issued by the authority concerned,” a Pemra official said, adding that when the channel did not pay heed to the rebuttal, a show cause notice was issued for airing fake news.

The notice mentioned that the channel had violated the Code of Conduct 2015, and did not air the official denial.

The TV channel management claimed during the hearing that the rebuttal was aired in the same talk show, but the argument was turned down by Pemra on the grounds that it was aired after the show-cause notice was issued.

Most decisions taken by Pemra end up in litigation and majority of around 500 cases against it relate to its decisions and fines.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the regulator said that currently Pemra was only monitoring talks shows and news bulletins, but airing incorrect tickers too was a violation of the code and fell under the category of fake news.

The regulatory body cannot monitor the tickers due to lack of human resources and technical capacity.

“It is feared that if the monitoring of tickers starts, the violation cases could increase manifold,” the official added.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2020