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PM, COAS take notice of threats to Pemra employees

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday took notice of alleged threats to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) employees, according to a press release issued by the media watchdog on Thursday.Pemra said that the PM and Army chief have conveyed to the media regulatory authority that “strict action will be taken against those who are creating hurdles in establishing the writ of Pemra.”Addressing a press conference on Monday, Pemra Chairman Absar Alam had urged the prime minister, chief justice of Pakistan and army chief to pay attention to a situation that Alam described as “dire”.He sought the help of all state institutions for smooth functioning of Pemra as per its rules and regulations.
During the conference, Alam played a recording of what appeared to be a threatening phone call.”I have a family; Pemra employees have a family. While I can tolerate personal attacks, I cannot permit threats directed towards my institution or its workforce,” he said, adding; “It is getting more and more difficult for us to operate. The situation is dire.”Pemra has been active in 2017, taking notice of and ordering action against different violations of electronic media rules by TV channels.In January, analyst Dr Shahid Masood’s show on Bol News was found disclosing sensitive information “recklessly and carelessly”, while Dr Aamir Liaquat’s show “Aisa Nahi Chaley Ga”, which airs on the same network, was served a show-cause notice for usage of “inflammatory, indecent and irresponsible” language.Much to Pemra’s frustration, Liaquat, on his show the following week, defiantly flouted the ban and went ahead with his telecast, hurling abuse at Pemra and criticising its decision to take his show off the air.The Sindh High Court stalled Pemra’s notice on two different occasions, making way for Bol news to be televised.Explore: Pemra ban In February, Pemra had issued a notice to Hum TV’s soap “Kitni Girhain Baaki Hain” for airing homosexual content in one of its episodes. The TV channel was asked to clarify whether the drama had received foreign funding and what educational knowledge it was imparting by airing such content.
In March, Pemra had slapped a five-day ban on a Geo TV morning show for airing ‘objectionable content’.In its most recent move, Pemra had last week revoked the license of Bol News over lack of security clearance for its directors.Amidst the show cause notices issued by Pemra on violation of it’s guidelines, Absar Alam’s chairmanship itself was questioned by the Lahore High Court in March when the court sought details of his appointment following a petition filed by Judicial Activism Panel. In the petition, it was argued that Alam’s appointment as Pemra chairman was a clear case of nepotism and violation of merit on the part of the federal government.

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