- Ban imposed as per PEMRA Act section 27(a), says media regulator.
- Media barred from reporting on events at Islamabad Judicial Complex.
- Activism by mob jeopardises law and order situation, says Pemra.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Saturday barred television channels from the live coverage of rallies or public gatherings and said that “today, a ban has been imposed on coverage of any party, person, or organisation.”
According to Pemra, the prohibition order includes a ban on any procession or rally being staged today at the judicial complex in Islamabad — where the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is set to appear.
In an advisory issued today titled “Prohibition order on live coverage under Section 27 of Pemra Ordinance 2001”, the electronic media regulator stated that it has been observed with concern that satellite TV channels are showing live footage and images of a violent mob, attacks on police and law enforcing agencies.
“Such footages/images were seen on TV screens without any editorial oversight during a recent standoff between political party workers and law enforcing agencies in Lahore wherein, a violent mob used petrol bombs, injuring armless policemen and blazing police vehicles. The live telecast of such footages on different satellite TV channels created chaos and panic among the viewers and Police.”
The Pemra letter said that such activism by the mob not only jeopardises the law and order situation but also makes public properties and lives vulnerable.
The airing of such content violates a judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the media regulator said.
“The competent authority while exercising powers vested under Section 26(a) of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007, hereby prohibits live/recorded coverage of any kind of rally, public gathering, procession by any party, organization and individual, etc. for today i.e. March 18, 2023, including from the judicial complex, Islamabad.”
The regulator warned that in case of non-compliance, the license shall be suspended under Section 30 (3) of Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007, without any show cause notice in the public interest along with other enabling provisions of law.
In a clarification later, the regulator added that the imposed restriction is limited to Islamabad and the action was taken on recommendations from law enforcement agencies.