ISLAMABAD: As PTI kicked off its “haqeeqi azadi long march” from Lahore, the electronic media regulator issued an advisory directing all private TV channels to not broadcast the march or speeches of PTI leaders live.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) advisory also rebuked private TV channels for not installing the delay mechanism during live coverage.
The regulator, without naming any political party or leader, said that on Friday, a speech was aired live during which “statements against state institutions” were made — an apparent reference to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s speech in the afternoon at the start of his march on Islamabad.
“[W]hile monitoring today’s transmissions, it has been observed that during the speech telecast today, statements against state institutions were aired live which is in violation of Code of Conduct as well as the orders of the Hon’ble Superior Courts,” the advisory noted.
Regulator rebukes broadcasters for not using delay mechanism
“Foregoing above, all the licensees are therefore once again directed to stop live telecast of content/programmes, while covering the long march and speeches of PTI leaders.”
The regulator also directed all satellite TV channels, including those falling in the category of regional language channels, to abide by the directives to implement delay mechanism requirements during live telecasts.
The advisory also directed the channels to “refrain from airing content that [is] tantamount to malign/disgrace state institution” and sensitise editorial boards, bureaus and field reporters to ensure compliance to the directives.
The regulator referred to the Islamabad High Court’s Sept 5 order directing all licensed news and current affairs TV channels to stop live telecast of content and programmes without time delay mechanism.
The IHC had also directed the channels to apprise Pemra about the implementation of its directives.
Subsequently, Pemra had issued a directive to all channels to deploy “maximum time delay mechanism” during live broadcasts in line with Clause 5 of the Code of Conduct, 2015.
The channels were also directed to submit information about the specifications of the equipment used for the purpose.
Editorial boards or in-house monitoring committees should be formed to draft SOP for this purpose and detailed information about the committees should be sent to Pemra, the Sep 5 directive stated.
However, the fresh advisory said despite the lapse of almost two months, only five TV channels have submitted their responses, which too were deemed “not satisfactory”.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2022