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Pemra urges complainants to attend hearings

July 29, 2012


ISLAMABAD, July 28: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has asked Jamaat-i-Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Justice (retd) Wajihuddin to attend a hearing with specific details about programmes and channels referred to in their complaint about increasing vulgarity in local media.

A spokesman for the authority said that Mr Ahmed and Justice (retd) Wajihuddin had lodged a complaint regarding vulgarity and obscenity on certain channels being telecast through cables.

“A meeting of the Council of Complaints in Islamabad was called on July 2 but the complainants did not appear… despite requests. Nor any of their representatives appeared on the date which showed their non-seriousness in pursuing the complaint.”

However, the former Jamaat-i-Islami chief appeared on some channels and alleged that Pemra was helpless in curbing indecency and vulgarity in the electronic media, the spokesman said.

Pemra said that it had been engaged in eliminating obscenity and vulgarity from broadcast media and cable TV networks.

The authority has also submitted its comments to the Supreme Court, enlisting actions initiated on this account.

Over the past year, it has seized 713 cable TV networks, collected fines of Rs2.176 million, blocked 87 illegal cable channels and revoked seven cable TV licences on such complaints.

Moreover, 17 TV channels were fined Rs18 million for violating the code of conduct, six channel’s licences were cancelled and one was suspended. More than 300 warnings and notices were served on TV channels and hearings held.

However, the Pemra actions were challenged by the licensees in courts and they were granted stay orders, in most cases without providing any opportunity of hearing to the authority.

Till the matters are pending before the courts, Pemra is unable to take decisive action to implement its laws, according to the spokesman.

He said that transmission of all objectionable foreign and unlicensed channels had been stopped on cable networks and legal action was taken if any such incident was reported.