POLITICS

Pakistan government directs all TV channels to flash map of country before 9 PM bulletin

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The Imran Khan government has issued a notification directing all news channels (both public and private) to flash the political map of Pakistan for 2 seconds.

Imran Khan

Image: PTI


In another example of its increasing clampdown on media, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has asked all news channels to display the map of the country, approved by PM Imran Khan before the 9 PM news. According to a report by ARY News, the Imran Khan government has issued a notification directing all news channels (both public and private) to flash the political map of Pakistan for 2 seconds before airing the bulletin. Along with this, the authority has directed all satellite TV channel licensees to comply with the recommendation. PEMRA’s notification titled ‘Streamlining Correct Use of Pakistan Political Map’ was reportedly approved by Khan in August 2021.

The letter by the Pakistan regulatory body read, “All the news channels (both public and private) have to flash the political map of Pakistan for 02 seconds before airing the news bulletin at 09:00 pm on regular basis.”

PEMRA pulled up for interfering in media

This is not the first time that the media authority in Pakistan has attempted to clamp down on news channels through its various orders. In March, PEMRA asked all news and current affairs satellite channels to refrain from airing “unsubstantiated, judgemental and unipolar remarks” about the country’s National Accountability Bureau. The regulatory body claimed that the airing of such content was in violation of the PEMRA (Amendment) Act of 2007 and the PEMRA Rules of 2009.

In fact, in 2019, a massive row had erupted after 11 TV anchors filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against a PEMRA notification, which barred anchors from giving their opinions during talk shows and limited their role to a moderator. The notification issued by Pemra had ordered anchorpersons “not to appear as experts in talk shows in their own or other channels and to make sure that guests invited on news shows are selected with due care”.

The journalists had knocked on the doors of the HC saying that the directive violated Article 19 of the country’s Constitution, which grants every Pakistani citizen the right to freedom of speech. Ultimately, the court barred the electronic media regulator from taking any adverse action against TV anchors.

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