PPF urges PEMRA to revoke ban on live broadcasts of former prime minister Imran Khan’s speeches; alarmed by disruptions in YouTube access
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) urges the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to take back its orders to prohibit the broadcast of live speeches by former prime minister Imran Khan. We are also alarmed by reports of disruptions in access to YouTube during Khan’s rally on August 21.
Restricting coverage of speeches by a senior political leaders, including a former prime minister have been done in the past as well. While it is the responsibility of the regulatory body to monitor content on broadcast media and to ensure that the content remains within the law, by banning speeches by a key political leader, the public is being deprived of vital information.
In a prohibition order dated August 20, PEMRA stated that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf “in his speeches/statements is continuously alleging state institutions by levelling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility”.
The broadcast regulator prohibited the broadcast of live speeches by Khan on all satellite TV channels.
PEMRA added that recorded speeches “would only be permitted to be aired after effective delay mechanism is put in place in order to ensure effective monitoring and editorial control in conformity with PEMRA laws”.
Following the PEMRA order, during a rally by the PTI chief on August 21, YouTube services faced disruptions in many areas of the country, Dawn reported.
This disruption in access to YouTube during a speech that is not available for broadcast on satellite television is an alarming form of digital censorship and is unacceptable. We urge the authorities to ensure that access to digital media is permitted without restrictions or selective disruptions.