TV talk shows on cases in courts to be banned -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

TV talk shows on cases in courts to be banned

By Tahir Khalil

ISLAMABAD: A bill to ban discussions in TV talk shows over the sub judice matters has been tabled in the National Assembly. This bill is expected to be passed by the National Assembly in its next session.

The government has retained two Musharraf era amendments in the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Ordinance introduced on November 3, 2007 with the imposition of emergency rule. Now a third amendment has been added to the bill.

On November 3, 2007, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule and slapped sanctions on the electronic media.

The present rulers have retained two Musharraf era amendments in the Pemra Ordinance, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had declared Musharraf’s emergency rule and all the ordinances and orders during that time null and void.

Under the two amendments retained by the PPP-led government: (1) The video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of terror victims, statements/decrees of extremists and any other action, which could aid or abet terrorism, would be banned.

(2) All the broadcasting institutions will make sure that they don’t publicise views or actions detrimental to ideology of Pakistan, sovereignty, national security and integrity. The broadcasting institutions will not broadcast any programme with extremist or derogatory content. No derogatory content would be broadcast against the state institutions.

Now the government has added another clause to these amendments which would ban discussions on sub judice matters. The new clause says: “The broadcasting institutions will not broadcast any such programme or discussion aimed at influencing or giving opinion about sub judice matters.”

The violators of this ordinance or those assisting in violation of the ordinance will be fined up to Rs10 million, while the cable operators broadcasting such content would be awarded three years imprisonment, fine, or both.

According to the government, the aim and objective of introducing this bill is to end sanctions on the media and repeal the dictatorial amendments in the Pemra Ordinance introduced on November 3, 2007.

According to sources, the Pemra amendment bill was included in the agenda of the National Assembly session which ended on Friday, but it could not be passed due to no legislation in the House. Now the bill will be presented in the next NA session for approval.

Source: The News