KARACHI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday warned a private news channel, ARY News, for airing ‘irresponsible and baseless’ analysis on appointments and promotions of generals in the Pakistan Army.
“Having monitored channels for the last few months, we noted that during a talk show, the hosts deliberately discussed sensitive issues in such an irresponsible and casual manner, which is unacceptable by journalism standards,” reads the statement.
The statement said postings, appointments and promotions in Pakistan’s armed forces are done on the basis of merit, not keeping in view an individual’s “caste such as Arain, Jutt, Butt, and Chaudhry” as claimed in a talk show aired on Feb 9.
“Moreover, their analysis on meetings between the political and military leadership and their ‘jeep rides‘ is speculative and nowhere in the world is media allowed to present such misleading views,” the letter adds.
The notice warns ARY’s top management from airing such views for violating the Pemra amendment ordinance, Pemra rules and code of conduct and Article 19-A of the Constitution.
“At a time when the army is battling terrorism and a number of its men have laid down their lives, airing such views is unacceptable and Pemra will take strict action if the channel airs such analyses again.”
‘Hate speech’ against Malala
Pemra also censured ARY for airing “hate speech” against Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and her family, warning that accusations of blasphemy could endanger lives.
Malala, who moved to England after being shot in the head by the Taliban, is both admired and hated in her Pakistan where some view her as a Western agent on a mission to shame her country.
In its ruling, Pemra said a programme aired by the ARY News channel on Feb 7 used “indecent and uncivilised” language to describe the 18-year-old, branding her “a traitor, a blasphemer of Allah and the Prophet (PBUH)”.
“The host and guests used such words about Malala Yousafzai and her family that undoubtedly fall under hate speech and use of such words are strictly banned under the law and constitution,” it said.
“Issuing certificates of treason and infidelity and declaring someone the enemy of the country or an enemy of Islam is not the job of TV anchors or the participants of a TV programme,” it added.
“They are broadcasting such material which could endanger someone’s life.”