PEMRA & Elections
As the country heads towards general elections, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
Authority (PEMRA) has issued a directive to all satellite media that reminds adherence to basic
media ethics and norms. Elections require an air of political and overall stability and the PEMRA
directive is a timely reminder to news media that it must play the responsible part in
strengthening democratic culture and values. The directive lays out the dos and don’ts and
restricts news channels from highlighting the message of banned organisations.
Extremist ideologies are a curse the country has been dealing with for decades now. The urge to
report often ends up amplifying these extremist narratives. Hence it is important to keep a strict
check on what can be aired and what should be avoided in the larger public interest. The air of
polarity in the country must be diffused before elections so that the environment is conducive to
the electoral process. In this context, the PEMRA’s instructions to news channels are a sensible
Prohibition of content that incites hatred, undermines the electoral process or compromises
ethical standards is a necessary measure to shaping public opinion in favour of elections.
Inculcation of democratic norms requires educating the public about their role and centrality in
the electoral process. In no way should the public be deterred from being part of that process.
Media being the most influential driver of public opinion has a great responsibility in ensuring
transparency and fairness in the elections by informing the public discourse in the right direction.
The months leading to elections are usually charged and sensitive. But when citizens, media,
political parties, and all other institutions see the value in keeping an environment of peace, the
elections can be conducted with relative ease. Filtering out hate from the media will only help us
towards that goal. No matter who forms the next government, free and fair elections will be a
win for everyone. To that end, the media must stand out and show adherence to PEMRA’s
Source: The Nation