Pemra bars TV channels from airing biased, judgmental remarks about NAB

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ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has refrained “Satellite TV licensees” from airing “judgemental and unipolar remarks” about the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in their news items and current affairs programmes.

The regulatory body said that it had “monitored with concerns” that “highly unsubstantiated, judgmental, and unipolar remarks” about the NAB are being broadcast “without getting an official point of view” from the institution.

It added that such content is being aired with an alleged intent to malign the state institution.

“Airing of such unsubstantiated and unipolar remarks are in absolute disregard to […] the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan passed in SOU MOTO CASE NO. 28 OF 2018 dated 12.09.2020 regarding the prohibition of discussion on sub-judice and under trail cases,” read the letter

“Airing of such content is also in violation of Section-20 (d) & (f) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act-2007, Rule 15(10 of PEMRA Rules 2009 and Clause 3(10(i). 4(2), 4(4), 14(7) (a,&c), 4(10), 5, 17 & 22 of Electronic Media (Programmes & Advertisements) Code of Conduct-2015.”

The Pemra further said that such practice continued despite various advice, warnings, notices, and the training sessions with the media persons/reporters

It has directed the channels to “refrain from voicing personal biases/opinion in any news report or talk show and moderate the programmes in a fair, balanced, objective, and impartial manner”.

It also said that sub-judice matters should be aired without making an opinion on it.

“The licensees are also obliged through these provisions of law to observe reasonable constraints while extracting contents from court proceedings, police records and court proceedings and to air them fairly, accurately and in an objective manner,” it added.

The body has asked the channels to “tighten their editorial oversight” and review the content of their talk shows.

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