ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has asked news and current affairs satellite channels to refrain from airing “unsubstantiated, judgemental and unipolar remarks” about the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), “with an alleged intent to malign the state institution”, without getting the bureau’s point of view.
Pemra said in a statement on Wednesday that airing of such unsubstantiated and unipolar remarks was in “absolute disregard” of previous instructions, including those issued in compliance with orders of the Supreme Court, prohibiting discussion on sub judice matters.
The regulator added that airing of such content was in violation of Pemra (Amendment) Act of 2007 and Pemra Rules of 2009.
“All news and current affairs TV channels, and their anchorpersons as well as guests, have to refrain from voicing personal biases in a news report or a talk show, and moderate the programmes in a fair, balanced, objective and impartial manner,” the statement said.
The law allows discussions about investigation and under-trial matters in such a manner as to provide information to the public and to avoid airing content, including commentary, opinion and suggestions, about the potential fate of such cases which tend to prejudice the determination by a court or tribunal, the regulator said.
“The licencees are obliged through these provisions of law to observe reasonable constraints while extracting contents from court proceedings and police records and to air them fairly, accurately and in an objective manner,” the Pemra directive added.
It said all satellite TV channels should refrain from airing “biased and unipolar analyses”.
Television networks “have to tighten their editorial oversight and review the content of their talk shows through in-house monitoring committees before airing them”, it added.
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2021