PEMRA bans content on conduct of sitting judges

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Thursday forbade the broadcasting and re-broadcasting of content pertaining to the conduct of sitting high court and Supreme Court judges on electronic media with immediate effect.

In the prohibition order, the regulator referred to previous directives wherein all licencees were directed to “refrain from telecasting any content against state institutions”. PEMRA noted that despite repeated directives, satellite television channels were “persistently discussing the conduct of honorable judges of superior courts and orchestrating a vilification campaign through airing slanderous allegations”.

The authority said airing any sort of content which prima facie referred to the conduct of judges or was against the superior judiciary was a sheer violation of the authority’s laws and judgments of the apex court. Pemra also gave a reference to Article 68 of the Constitution in its order. The law states: “No discussion shall take place in [Majlis-e- Shoora (Parliament)] with respect to the conduct of any Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties.”

“Therefore, the competent authority i.e. chairman PEMRA, in exercise of delegated powers of the authority vested in Section 27(a) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007, prohibits broadcast/rebroadcast of any content pertaining to conduct of Honourable sitting judges of High Court and Supreme Court, in any manner, on electronic media (news bulletins, talks shows etc.), with immediate effect,” the order said. The authority also directed all satellite TV channels to ensure that an effective Time Delay Mechanism is put in place and an “impartial editorial board” is constituted. (INP)