ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court has directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to take measures to stop obscenity on the TV channels. “PEMRA should consult all the stakeholders for the purpose and after clearly defining obscenity and the limits for TV channels and submit report after four weeks.” said chief Justice.
A three judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar was hearing a petition filed by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin and former Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed against obscenity aired on TV channels.
In his remarks, the chief justice said that if members of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had done their job right, obscenity would have been controlled. The cable operators and owners of the TV channels submitted their reply in the court.
During the hearing the CJ remarked, “Those who have filed the petition are respectable persons.” He said, “PEMRA serving notices to TV channels is nothing but eyewash.”
The bench also allowed Cable Operators Association (COA) and Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBCA) to become party in the case. The chief justice advised PEMRA to assemble together all the stakeholders and reach a stance on the matter as the court did not want any concerned parties to say that restrictions were imposed on broadcast material without hearing their points-of-view.
PEMRA chairman, who was asked by the bench to take measures to stop obscenity during previous hearing, said that they would observe a difference watching the TV shows now. He also told the court, “PBCA says those who have problem with the TV channels should not watch them.” The CJ said that PBCA’s stance was a violation of PEMRA rules.
Moreover, Justice Khawaja remarked that 10 years had passed and PEMRA had yet to arrive at a conclusive definition of vulgarity. Every individual had their own interpretation of vulgarity and obscenity, he added. Previously, the Supreme Court expressed its surprise when the PEMRA had stated that the government had neither a policy to monitor TV programmes, especially of foreign channels, nor did it have a clear definition of obscenity.
Later the SC adjourned the hearing of the case till September 17.