PEMRA stops crime glorification

FOLLOWING instructions of Senate standing committee, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has announced complete ban on shows dramatising crimes such as rape, murder, robberies and suicide. Addressing a news conference the other day, Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam expressed in categorical terms that neither channels would be allowed to name rape or suicide victims nor run the interviews of their family members.
In recent times, these unethical re-enactment programmes had become a permanent feature of our news and entertainment channels and the Chairman PEMRA, who is a professional journalist, has adopted the right path to check this dangerous trend as these shows were not only enticing the youth towards crimes but according to law enforcement agencies, several criminals had also confessed learning new tactics through such programmes. Similarly, the forced entry of media personnel into private premises to dig-up some alleged wrongdoing amounts to sheer violation of law as such an action could only be undertaken by law enforcement agencies under a laid out procedure. At times, these re-enactments stories have been found breaching the very essence of dignity and good taste. All these incidences clearly indicate lack of professionalism in our media industry. Undoubtedly the mushroom growth of electronic media, which contributed positively for the growth of society also created many issues, which needed to be addressed forthwith. Take for instance, the glorification of terrorist acts on the channels and the time and space given to terrorists by telecast their messages like claiming responsibility for a terror attack and showing live footage of horrific scenes like blood soaked bodies especially of women and children. Whilst the PEMRA has imposed a ban on dramatisation of events, it is also incumbent upon the media industry to pursue the course of self regulation and improve journalistic standards as to what should go on air and what should not. We are for media reforms and its effective utilisation for the healthy growth of our society and the state.

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