Recently, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has been in the news for coming up with controversial directives regarding the Women Protection Bill in Pakistan.
Much hue and cry followed in social media and traditional media outlets, especially in the light of one CII recommendation calling for husbands being allowed to beat their spouses ‘lightly’.
But that wasn’t the only recommendation that caught the eye of the consultative body. They also proposed a ban on contraceptive ads running on TV, pointing to their ‘vulgarity’ and ‘corrupting influence’ on society.
The CII needn’t worry. PEMRA, the electronic media watchdog, recently issued directives pertaining to the airing of contraceptive commercials on TV, though it remains to be seen if it was done in light of the CII’s recommendation or. as PEMRA alleges, on the advice of concerned viewers.
PEMRA’s letter calling for ban on family planning ads
PEMRA has directed all TV channels and FM radio stations to curb the airing of family planning, birth control or contraceptive products henceforth.
Following the directives, Twitter had a lot to say about the current move. Here are what people are saying regarding the move:
Population growth is pak's biggest prob. instead of asking channels to create awareness campaigns on this PEMRA has banned contraceptive ads
— Muaaz Ahsan (@MuaazAhsanGeo) May 27, 2016
If only they had contraception before PEMRA bureaucrats were conceived. https://t.co/IOTokoLxqD
— Hasan Zaidi (@hyzaidi) May 27, 2016
ofc CII doesn’t want women to have control over contraceptives, and now even PEMRA is undoing progress by removing birth control ads/ PSAs
— baewoo🌈 (@lem0ntek) May 27, 2016
On one hand, Pakistan is facing a crisis brought forward by a burgeoning population. On the other hand, the moral police deems it fit to shut down any initiatives that could otherwise spread awareness of family planning.
PEMRA’s move has invited a mixed reaction across society and will continue to do so, since its ban directly impacts the domain of health all across the country. Let’s hope that saner minds prevail.