July 28, 2012
PEMRA Denies Statement of Former Chief Jammat-e-Islami Regarding Electronic Media
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority in a rebuttal have denied claim of former Chief Jammat-e-Islami as appeared in some sections of press alleging PEMRA haplessness in curbing indecency and vulgarity in electronic media.
PEMRA said that they have been constantly engaged in eliminating the menace of obscenity and vulgarity from broadcast media and cable TV networks. Prompt actions are taken against the licensees as and when any such incident comes to light.
PEMRA clarifies that the generalized complaint lodged by former Chief J.I. and the Justice Retd. Wajihuddin regarding vulgarity in electronic media contained no specific detail of incident or programme or name of channel to be particularly probed. However, in response to the complaint, a meeting of Council of Complaints Islamabad was called on July 2, 2012. It may be mentioned that Council of Complaints, formulated under section 26 of PEMRA Act, comprises of eminent citizens and are mandated to receive and review complaints of civic society against any aspect of electronic media. The complainants were requested to appear before the Council to supplicate their complaint. However, neither the complainant nor any of their representatives appeared on the given date which revealed their non-seriousness in pleading the complaint.
PEMRA furnished its comments to the apex court enlisting the series of action initiated on this account which has been duly published in mainstream print media. PEMRA, during last one year have seized 713 cable TV networks on such complaints and fines worth 2.176 million have been imposed and recovered. Nearly 87 different illegal channels on cable networks have been taken off and 07 cable TV licenses have been revoked.
Similarly, 17 TV channels were fined total of Rs. 18 million for violating Code of Conduct. 06 TV channel licenses were cancelled and 01 was suspended. More than 300 warnings / notices were served to TV channels and called for personal hearings. However, these PEMRA actions were challenged by its licensees in the Courts and they were granted stays. Incidentally, most of the stays are granted without providing any opportunity of hearing to PEMRA. Till the matters are pending before the Courts, PEMRA is unable to take decisive actions in implementation of PEMRA laws.
It is worth mentioning that all the objectionable foreign and unlicensed channels have been off-aired on cable networks and legal actions are taken if any such incident is reported.
The afore-stated initiatives amply substantiate that PEMRA is not sitting idle and has been discharging its functions diligently within its ambit and resources. PEMRA resolved that such actions would continue as discharge of its regulatory obligation.
General Manager (Media & PR)