Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed satellite television channels not to report on those government meetings that are in progress, but the stakeholders dismissed the directives of the media regulator.
In a statement, Pemra said that news channels should report carefully on decisions taken at cabinet meetings and depend primarily on briefings provided by a cabinet member, to stop the airing of “fake or speculative news”.
Electronic Media Editors Dismiss the New Curbs Placed by PEMRA
The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (Aemend) reject the new restrictions placed by Pemra on TV channels under the shade of ‘advice’ on how to report on cabinet meetings or decisions taken by the government. In a statement, the association’s president Azhar Abbas said that Pemra was turning into a `censorship tool’ rather than acting as a regulator. According to Mr. Abbas,
Such actions to curb media freedom are making Pemra controversial. Aemend is of the firm view that if there is news concerning the proceedings and decisions of the federal cabinet, and official circles decline to say anything on record, it is the media’s responsibility to report on matters of public interest In addition, at times senior government officials themselves provide information on cabinet proceedings while requesting anonymity.
However, the premier of the Aemend also clarified that the government holds the right to contradict any report aired by a news channel. In the case of the new curbs placed by PEMRA, Aemend called upon the journalists’ unions and media organizations to defend this move to censor content and to undermine the media’s freedom.