ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on Saturday told the Supreme Court that it has blocked several illegal satellite programming and content relayed by local cable operators.

It further said that illegal (Indian) DTH equipment seized by the regulatory body teams from cable distributors from across the country had been disposed of.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Nayyar Rizvi submitted a report in the apex court on behalf of the PEMRA in a case against airing obscene, vulgar and objectionable material through direct to home (DTH) service.

The PEMRA said that it has also decided to enhance the existing monitoring system to cover almost all satellite TV channels round-the-clock.

The report claimed that the PEMRA was rigorously enforcing its laws in true spirit.

‘For that, the authority has established a state-of-the-art monitoring set-up at its headquarters to monitor the content of 40 to 50 satellite TV channels to monitor violations and initiate action against violators strictly in accordance with law,” the report claimed.

“All cable TV operators have also been directed not to relay any vulgar/obscene content through in-house CD channels,” it said.

It said that the authority has directed enforcement teams to ‘remain vigilant’ about violations by any of its licencee.

It stated that “the monitoring of broadcast content and enforcement of relevant laws is a continuous process and is inherently one that poses the greatest challenge to every electronic media regulator in the world”.

The PEMRA claimed that the mutually agreed electronic media (programmes and advertisements) code of conduct 2015 has already been implemented on the directives of the Supreme Court.

The PEMRA report said that it has advised channels to edit an advertisement of Vaseline with Bollywood actor Nargis Fakhri.

The report said that it has stopped three channels from airing misleading advertisements of spiritual healers while a news channel has been given advice against airing an indecent language used by televangelist Zahid Hamid.

The report said that another news channel has been warned for airing derogatory remarks passed by senior lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri, and aspersions against the judiciary in the programme titled ‘On the Front’ hosted by Kamran Shahid.

The PEMRA stated that it took 83 actions against different TV channels in a different capacity.

Two days back, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heading a three-judge bench heard the case regarding obscene and objectionable material and observed: “it is a fact public cannot be disconnected with the world, but no obscene content should be aired on television channels”.

He had further observed that it was a social issue and there were no two opinions about it and the obscenity was not admissible and such scenes could not be watched while sitting with the family.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in its report had said that it has blocked 0.4 million porn websites and 9,846 proxies.

The top court while disposing of a case had directed the PEMRA to take notice of complaints by itself and decide the case in 90-days.

SC WILL TAKE UP PETITION AGAINST BONDED LABOUR

TOMORROW

The Supreme Court will take up on Monday a petition moved by brick kiln workers, seeking directives to do away with bonded-labor.

The petition, moved by brick kiln workers in August 2017, has been fixed before a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

The labourers have requested the top court to issue directives for enforcement of their fundamental rights in order to abolish bonded-labor and slavery.

The petition had been filed by 11 brick kiln workers through advocate Aftab Alam Yasir, making the federation and all provincial governments as respondents.

“In the name of Paishgi (upfront money), the petitioners and others like them have to face slavery of brick kiln owners and they sell and purchase the petitioners and their class like animals and this agony is being faced by their generation after generation, finding no way to come out of this vicious cycle. This petition is being moved to seek enforcement of fundamental rights provided under the Constitution as well as to get justice in an expeditious manner,” the petition said.

“The petitioners and their children remain at the mercy of the brick kiln owners, who generally violate their privacy in their homes and their women are harassed by brick kiln owners as there is no system to regulate the employment of the brick kiln workers, which is a gross violation of their fundamental rights,” the petition said.

The petitioners questioned that whether the workers/labourers working in brick kilns are not citizens of Pakistan and have no fundamental rights to guard themselves from the tyranny of the brick kiln owners, who are consistently violating their fundamental rights through bonded-labour and without giving any voice to the workers to seek the interference of labour unions and other statutory bodies for their betterment and the petitioners and their class is left with any legal remedies.

The petitioners have pleaded that federal and provincial governments should be directed to frame proper laws and rules to end the miseries of the petitioners and their class and determine minimum wages for them.

“The governments also be directed to enforce the fundamental rights of the petitioners and their class to curb exploitation in the hands of Bhatta owners by taking necessary and special measures be taken for formation of unions of Bhatta workers/petitioners and their class and also facilitate necessary education and health facilities and provide basic facilities in case of an emergency or burn injuries,” the petition said.

 

 

SYED SABEEHUL HUSSNIAN