PEMRA takes action on violation of code of conduct: Farrukh Habib

ISLAMABAD   –  Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Friday informed the National Assembly that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had taken action against some TV channels for violating its code of conduct.

Reply to a Calling Attention Notice in the House, raised by Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, Muhammad Anwar, Shahida Akhtar Ali, and others about the increasing obscenity on television channels, the minister said PEMRA had a complete code of conduct which was formulated in 2015 on the directions of the Supreme Court.  Farrukh Habib said that as per the code of conduct, as many as 365 show-cause notices were issued to various channels, while action had also been taken against 28 advertisements and dramas.

The minister said that as per the code of conduct, the PEMRA had the authority to impose Rs one million fine on the violation, and to date, it had imposed about Rs 25 million fine. 

He said the directives had been issued to PEMRA for circulating advisory to all the TV channels during the next week and a copy of the advisory would also be shared with the House.

Farrukh Habib asked the members to share their objections if they had any against particular TV channel or drama, the authority would take action against it. The minister said PEMRA had a Council of Complaints and the parliamentarians or any individual could approach it on any violation. PEMRA in the past, the minister said, had already taken action on the applications against the channels. 

 The minister said that Part-III of the code of conduct was very clear and PEMRA took immediate action on any violation,

“We will try our level best not to violate our traditions and values,” the minister said.

Replying to a question from Shahida Akhtar Ali, he said that PEMRA had a complete monitoring system, and in the past channels were stopped from airing objectionable dramas and advertisements. 

The dramas and advertisements were allowed to air after the removal of objectionable material, he added.

“We ensure that freedom of expression is not affected while implementing the code of conduct.” the minister said.

Farrukh Habib said that arrangements would be made for the members of the house to visit PEMRA next week so that they could personally inspect the procedure in that regard. 

He said that so far about 28 advertisements had been banned and the regulatory authority had the complete list of them.

The minister said strict action had been taken against Indian content, vulgar language, and other such types of material.

To another question, the minister said that the text of dramas and advertisements should be in accordance with the country’s basic principles and traditions. 

“Parliament is the center of our collective wisdom,” he said and asked the parliamentarians to put forward their suggestions and opinions in this regard.

Later, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri referred the matter to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting.

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