Pemra asks channels to exercise strict editorial control
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Friday formally approved a fine of Rs1 million on Samaa TV for airing a highly objectionable, indecent and vulgar text message during its crime re-enactment programme “Wardat” in July last year.
The text message was not only in violation of Pemra laws and the code of conduct implemented by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, but was also against socio-cultural and religious values. The objectionable text message had prompted serious backlash from the viewers of the channel.
The case was earlier decided by the Council of Complaints Sindh on January 14, 2016. The council, after perusing the record and giving a proper hearing to the accused had recommended fine of Rs1 million on Samaa TV.
It was also recommended that in case of non-payment of fine, the authority may further process the case of channel for suspension or revocation of its licence. The authority while approving the fine also ordered the channel to air a public apology and tickers from 6:00pm to 12:00 midnight, repeatedly.
The authority has approved that, if the channel fails to pay fine within a period of 15 days and/or also fails to air apology according to the authority’s orders, its licence will stand suspended. The authority also directed all other TV channels to introduce a strict editorial control and install time delay mechanism to avoid any such incident(s) in future.
The Pemra referred back to COC Peshawar the case of Khyber News Channel on account of using objectionable language during live broadcast on October 10, 2014.
Besides other important decisions, the authority approved the grant of landing rights permission to a foreign kids channel “TOONAMI” to M/s Information & Systems Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. This kids content channel has been permitted to fill the vacuum and appetite for the children programmes/channels in Pakistan.
The authority also ratified/endorsed the Electronic Media (Programmes & Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015 which was implemented by the Supreme Court in its order dated August 18, 2015. The ratification has been made in compliance to the orders of the apex court whereby it was required to meet this requirement after the appointment of regular chairman Pemra.
In addition, the authority approved the transfer of shares and induction of new directors in the management of M/s Xena Satellite Communication (Pvt) Ltd. & M/s Smart Mediacom (Pvt) Ltd, the FM Radio licensees of Pemra.
The authority also took number of significant decisions for the betterment/welfare of its employees which notably included approval of the grant of ad hoc allowance 2015 to Pemra employees and also approval of revised overtime allowance and conveyance/late sitting charges and enhancement in grant of educational subsidy for officials of Pemra in PS 1 to 6.
The procurement rules of the authority were also brought in consonance with the Rule 42(b) of Public Procurement Rules of PPRA.
Chairman Pemra Absar Alam, Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Saba Mohsin Raza, Chairman PTA Dr Ismail Shah, Nargis Nasir (Member Punjab), Sarfraz Khan Jatoi (Member Sindh), Munir Ahmed Badini (Member Balochistan) and Shaheen Habibullah (Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) attended the meeting.