The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Monday restricted live coverage of rallies and public gatherings across the federal capital on March 27, hours before PTI chairman Imran Khan was expected to appear before the Islamabad High Court.

According to a statement issued in early morning hours today, Pemra referred to a letter sent to the body by law enforcement agencies regarding the security situation in Islamabad.

It observed that satellite television channels run live footages/images of violent mobs, attacking on police and law enforcement agencies.

“Such footage or images were seen on TV without any editorial oversight during the recent standoff between political party workers and law enforcement agencies in Lahore and Islamabad wherein, the violent mob used petrol bombs, injuring armless (sic) policemen and blazing (sic) police vehicles.”

It added that the live telecast of such footage on different satellite TV channels “created chaos and panic” among viewers and the police. “Such activism by mob not only jeopardises law and order situation but also makes public properties and lives vulnerable”, it cautioned.

Pemra said airing such content would be in violation of several Supreme Court judgments.

The regulator, while exercising powers vested under Section 27(a) of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007, said it prohibited “live/recorded coverage of any kind of rally, public gathering, procession by any party, organisation and individual etc. in Islamabad Capital Territory for today i.e. March 27, 2023”.

A similar ban had been imposed by Pemra on March 18 as well, when the PTI chairman appeared in the Federal Judicial Complex for a hearing in the Toshakhana Reference.

The same day, violent clashes were reported between PTI supporters and police outside the judicial complex. In the violent confrontation, a contingent of law enforcers and PTI supporters used anti-riot gear against each other with teargas used from both sides to push the opposing side back.

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