A parliamentary committee is figuring out options on how to block a leaked video from getting on air on TV channels in Pakistan.
This comes after Dr. Asim Hussain’s interrogation video was leaked and was telecasted by 20 private TV channels. The Sindh government wasn’t happy with this and pointed fingers at the federal government and wanted PEMRA to take notice and stop the channels from sharing the video publicly.
The committee has asked the Sindh government to register a formal complaint with PEMRA so that it can take appropriate steps and decide if the public airing of the video violated any PEMRA rules.
The PEMRA Chairman, Absar Alam, said there are no restrictions on TV channels preventing them from airing such leaked videos at the moment, However, he suggested, that all commentary and observations made by anchors and analysts could influence the court’s decision. Therefore the channels can be brought under investigation.
While it may look like a straight forward matter, investigation TV channels, charging them or looking towards change PEMRA laws in order to prevent TV channels from airing any leaked media might not be the best course of action. TV channels should be allowed to air any leaked media, unless it contains objectionable, anti-Islamic, anti-Pakistan, or content that incites hatred. Governments should not have the authority to prevent certain news items just because the content can negatively affect public opinion about them.
Instead of forcing PEMRA to take action, the government should try and prevent such videos from leaking in the first place. Once a video is leaked, it is in the public domain and anyone can watch it. There are some ethical restrictions, other than that news items should not be restricted from airing.
Currently, the Sindh police is investigating how the video got leaked. It is the responsibility of the authorities to keep a lid on things, especially more so if it is related to politics in the country. But it does not justify influencing TV channels through legal or any other means in order to protect personal gains.