On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered PEMRA and PTA to submit their replies over obscene and objectionable content aired on TV channels recently.
A three member bench lead by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali heard the case which was filed by the ex Jamat-e-Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad and retired justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, who also wrote a letter to the Chief Justice asking to set the appropriate standards to censor explicit/obscene content on the media, particularly on drama serials that run on different channels.
During the court proceedings, the Chief Justice said that some of the the tv channels are promoting specific agendas while others are bribed to spread slander against political or social individuals. He added that PEMRA issues warnings to these channels but doesn’t do anything else to stop them. He observed that if they followed PEMRA’s standards and procedures from the start, these issues would not have been a problem presently.
Justice Azmat Saeed said that guests and participants on talk shows used slang and improper language. They have the right to criticize but they seem to be crossing the line.
The counsel for PEMRA was questioned by the court about what if anti-democracy topics were debated on which are against the ideology of Pakistan or if they promote extremism on the TV channels, to which the counsel replied that they have indeed issued notices to channels that violated the code of conduct set by PEMRA.
The chief justice responded that they should be given exemplary punishment from the authority and ensure strict implementation of its rules and regulations. To this, the counsel said that they had issued a fine of Rs 1 million to a TV channel but received a stay order from the High Court.
The case was then adjourned for the duration of a month.