Pemra barred from action against channels until court order

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday remanded the petition of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) to Islamabad High Court (IHC) with the direction to decide the case after hearing the parties concerned.

A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan heard the PBA petition challenging the IHC order authorising the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to censor TV content including dramas and commercials.

On March 17, IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui appointed a committee under Pemra with the task to examine the contents of TV shows, dramas and advertisements.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar on behalf of PBA filed petitions in top court stating that the Pemra could not act as monitoring police and impose as how channels should broadcast their programmes under the law.

On Wednesday the court ordered the IHC Registrar to fix the instant matter within three days besides ruling that until the decision of the court, Pemra should not take any action against any TV channel.

Pemra Chairman Absar Alam submitted before the court that code of conduct was specifically made for Ramazan in response to the complaints lodged by the public. He said that it was requested that game shows and other programmes should not be telecast during Iftar and Tarawee hours.

Meanwhile, the court ruled that it did not want to interfere in the interim order, passed by the learned High Court but the instant matter was being remanded to the IHC with the direction to decide it on merits after hearing the parties.

In its petition, the PBA had raised objections arguing that the Pemra had no power or jurisdiction under the Constitution to become a regulator of the TV programmes.

The News