PEMRA Suspends Dawn News Program “Zara Hut Kay” For 3 Days

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has ordered the three-day suspension of a Dawn News program, Zara Hut Kay, for violating a clause of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002.

The suspension will be in effect from Wednesday, March 22.

During an episode of Zara Hut Kay aired on March 9, the show presenters Mubashir Zaidi, Wusatullah Khan, and Zarrar Khuhro made comments on a reference pending before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

On March 10, PEMRA issued show cause notices to all three presenters, requiring that a channel representative appear before a personal hearing committee and explain the channel’s position.

The notice pointed out that discussing a matter pending before the SJC violated section 20 (c) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002, as well as Rule 15(1) of PEMRA Rules 2009 and clauses 3 (1-j), 4(3) of Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015.

PEMRA imposed the suspension on Zara Hut Kay in the hearing held at PEMRA head office in Islamabad on March 17. Mubashir Zaidi appeared before the committee for hearing and denied any intention to slander or show contempt for the judiciary during the program.

PEMRA has further directed Dawn News to install effective time-delay mechanism during its programs to facilitate timely censorship of inappropriate comments or discussions. The private TV channel is also required to constitute an in-house editorial committee.