The Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Thursday reiterated its earlier ban on media coverage of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as the group persisted with its long march to Islamabad.
According to a notification issued by the regulatory authority dated Oct 28, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the directives are applicable to all satellite television channels, FM radio stations and distribution service networks.
The notification referred to an earlier letter by the Ministry of Interior on April 15 in which it had declared the TLP as a proscribed organisation for "being engaged in acts of terrorism, acting in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country" and a subsequent letter issued by Pemra banning TV and radio coverage.
"It is reiterated that regulation 18(h) of Pemra (Television Broadcast Station Operation) Regulation, 2012 and clause 16 of the Electronic Media Code of Conduct, 2015 requires that the programmes shall conform to the laws of the country. Further, Clause 3 (3) of Electronic Media Code of Conduct, 2015 prohibits media coverage of proscribed organisations," the notification said.
"Keeping in view the reasons stated above, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 27 of Pemra Ordinance, 2002 as amended by Pemra Amendment Act, 2007 all satellite TV channels, FM radio stations and distribution service networks (Cobb TV Operators, IPTV) are hereby directed to stop the media coverage of proscribed organisation Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan," it said.
The directives by the regulator come as a rally of thousands of TLP workers entered Gujranwala city on Thursday, determined to continue with their long march to Islamabad.
Recent clashes between the protesters and police officials have claimed the lives of at least five officials and left more than 200 injured.
The government has also announced that the TLP would not be allowed to challenge the writ of the state and would be treated as a "militant" group — not a religious party.
This is not the first time this year the regulator has slapped a ban on media coverage of the TLP. In April, Pemra had banned television and radio coverage of the TLP after it was declared a proscribed entity by the government.