Pemra may summon BBC over Taliban documentary
LAHORE: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) said on Wednesday it was looking at summoning the BBC to demand an explanation over a documentary about the Taliban that has left the BBC World News channel blocked nationwide.
Cable operators pulled the channel on Tuesday night amid anger over Nato air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
According to AFP, the move raises concerns about censorship in the country of 167 million, where Facebook was briefly banned in 2010, just days after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority sought to ban “obscene” text messages.
The Cable Operators Association of Pakistan confirmed that it had pulled BBC World News from air and said other western news channels had been ordered “not to indulge in anti-Pakistan propaganda”. The row relates to a two-part BBC documentary, “Secret Pakistan”, which questions Pakistan’s commitment to tackling Taliban militancy.
The BBC said it was deeply concerned by the move, and called for its channel to be speedily reinstated. “We condemn any action that threatens our editorial independence and prevents audiences from accessing our impartial international news service,” a BBC spokesperson said.
“Definitely, since an issue has been highlighted, the authorities will review the contents of the broadcast and their programmes,” said the Pemra.
“The authorities can summon BBC representatives and seek an explanation from them,” Pemra spokesman Tahir Izhar said.