On CJP, Govt and Media war

Continuing the Devoid us of news, Please post, I made yesterday … here is a detailed clipping from Dawn that reports the PEMRA’s stance in detail:

Enraged by media coverage of the ongoing judicial crisis, the government on Saturday stopped satellite TV channels from telecasting programmes, including live talk shows and discussions, on the issue of the presidential reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. PEMRA sent a carefully-drafted letter to the managements of the private TV channels to inform them of the decision to ban TV coverage of the events related to the chief justice. Interestingly, Pemra also issued a press release later in the afternoon regarding the award of licence to DawnNews TV in which it claimed that no ban had been imposed on live coverage of programmes.

The letter issued by PEMRA states:

The Pemra letter to the TV channels, a copy of which is available with Dawn, states: “No programme shall be aired which (i) is likely to encourage and incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national and anti-state attitude; (ii) contains anything which amounts to contempt of court; (iii) contains aspersions against the judiciary and integrity of the armed forces of Pakistan; (iv) maligns or slander any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country; and is against basic cultural values, morality and good manner.”

PS: More in urdu can be seen, on closure of the news channels , on the blog of Iftikhar Ajmal.

For more on this letter continue with rest of the post :-)

“You are, therefore, advised to refrain/desist from relaying programmes which deviate (from) Pemra laws and Code of Conduct. Non-implementation of the directives in this respect shall invoke legal action under Pemra Ordinance 2002 and rules/regulations made there under,” says the letter carrying the signature of Pemra director-general (enforcement) Rana Altaf Majid.

In the letter, Pemra accuses TV channels of constantly violating the code of conduct. It “regrets” that some broadcasters are still engaged in showing “gruesome/gory scenes of mutilated bodies of tragic incidents of terrorism creating fear and unrest in the society which serves the purposes of the terrorists”.

It says Pemra has always believed in self-regulation and self-correction. The authority, it says, expects maturity and a sense of responsibility from the broadcasters.

“In clear disregard of the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Pemra laws and code of conduct, the broadcasters are running live talk shows and discussions on the chief justice’s reference which is sub judice.”

With apparent reference to the live telecast of the addresses of the chief justice to various bars and with particular reference to the seminar of the Supreme Court Bar Association on May 26, the letter says: “In the recent past, some channels telecast live speeches which blatantly violated Pemra’s code of conduct.”

It is worth mentioning that several federal and state ministers have also been participating in the talk shows on the CJ issue, but the Pemra letter has no mention about participants of the programmes.

Need to say more??

Freedom of expression, judiciary, journalism – rocks man – It rocks …!

3 Comments so far

  1. Ejaz Asi (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 3:34 am

    I can’t really say I am such an avid fan of Media since it could easily be doped and history is only filled with more news about media than one could hope or want. In West (specifically USA) most of the news agencies and organizations are backed by corporations, hence the term Corporate Media. The amount of pressure these corporate giants exert on the media is mind boggling. Then the state department, Pentagon et al. sold wars on numerous occassions to the media and media mostly never challenged the status-quo paradigm. Of course “National Interests” must have been compromised otherwise.

    Now, the same lines western media have been running and throwing sensational and bought-wars stories to the public, Pakistanis want to adopt the same culture as well. looks like our teenage generation isn’t alone in adopting american culture blindly.

    In a pure idealistic sense, I think we have moved away quite further from the ideologies of Kant and other western philosophers who raised their voices for freedom of speech. I think one of the biggest mystery and myth (and legacy, if you will) of the modern world is that despite the access to information at almost no cost, despite the flood of knowledge and sea of opinions, the authoritarian and imperialism still flourishes in the guises many people can’t even identify or stand against… May be the picture is too grim, but that’s the way it is.

  2. Fatima K. (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

    Swell, so the only channel that will not have any restrictions imposed on live coverage is the channel that will provide news in a language the masses are not familiar with.
    In all the statements that I read above, I found it so hard to distinguish where the government ends and where the authority of PEMRA begins, the merge is so deceiving.

  3. Majid (unregistered) on June 5th, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

    Isn’t it surprising that whenever the ruling class feels threatened by open fair media reporting which may seem critical of their position they stoop to draconian measures – this must be the Enlightened Moderation Paradox which the good general speaks of.

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