ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to set the parameters for discouraging programmes and advertisements showing obscenity on TV channels.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard a suo moto regarding obscene and other objectionable material carried in media. Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed and former Ameer Jamaat Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed had written letters to the chief justice against obscenity aired on TV channel.

The court gave four weeks to Pemra for completing the process and directed to clearly define the obscenity and submit compliance report.

Appearing on notice, Pemra Acting Chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar informed the court that he took all possible measures for discouraging obscenity, adding that there were many complaints against obscenity on CDs channels. He told the court that they had fined TV channels, spreading sectarianism, besides issuing notices to cable operators and TV channels for running advertisements and programmes containing obscenity. He said that they would observe a difference watching the TV shows now.

The chief justice asked the acting chairman that serving notices to TV channels was nothing but eyewash. He remarked that effective measures should be taken on urgent basis.

He said the petitioners were respectable persons and asked the acting chairman that the Pemra should consult Qazi Hussain Ahmed for evolving a strategy in this regard.

 Justice Jawad S Khawaja observed that there must be proper definition of immoral programmes and advertisements. The court directed Pemra to take measures to stop obscenity on the TV channels with the help of all the stakeholders by clearly defining the obscenity and submit report after four weeks.

 The acting chairman, however, told the court that they wanted to hold a discussion in order to set parameters for discouraging programs and advertisements discriminating obscenity on TV channels.

 Meanwhile, the court also accepted the pleas of Broadcasters Association and Cable Operators for becoming a party in the instant case. During the hearing, Cable operators and owners of the TV channels submitted petitions in the court to become party in the case.

 The court as also disposed of the contempt case against former chairman PEMRA Malik Mushtaq after he tendered apology before the court.

 Later, the court adjourned the hearing for four weeks.