The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has suspended the licence of the ARY News for broadcasting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s statement in the headline slot of 9:00 pm.
The PEMRA took action against ARY News immediately after imposing a ban on Imran Khan’s speeches and media statements following a notice issued at 8:30 pm. The channel faced PEMRA’s wrath despite implementing the order as it did not air Imran Khan’s statement in the 9:00 pm headlines.
Other television channels also aired Imran Khan’s statement but discriminatory action was taken against the ARY News by the electronic media authority.
The suspension order read, “It has been observed that M/s ARY Communications Ltd. (ARY News) on March 05, 2023, in its news bulletin at 9:00 p.m. aired clips of Mr. Imran Khan’s speech delivered at Zaman Park, Lahore, today. ARY News aired referred content in willful defiance to the Prohibition Order.”
It added, “Foregoing in view, the competent authority i.e. the Chairman PEMRA in exercise of powers vested in Section 30(3) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007, hereby Suspends broadcast satellite TV Channel license conferred to M/s ARY Communications Ltd. (ARY News) with immediate effect, till further orders.”
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Secretary Finance Saeed Jahan aka Lala Asad strongly condemned the electronic media authority’s move.
He wrote on Twitter, “Yet another draconian act by the PDM government. Pakistan’s largest News Channel #ARYNEWS license suspended by PEMRA for airing @ImranKhanPTI speech. Courts have repeatedly denounced fascist acts of PEMRA but unfortunately vendetta continues against #freedomofspeech.”
Earlier, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on broadcasting ‘live and recorded’ speeches and press conferences of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on all satellite TV channels with immediate effect.
“It has been observed that Imran Khan [Chairman PTI] in his speeches/statements is continuously alleging state institutions by leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility,” stated the notification issued by the regulatory authority.
It further directed all satellite TV channels to ensure that an impartial Editorial Board be constituted as required under Clause 17 of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct 2015 in order to ensure that their platform is not used by anyone for uttering remarks in any manner “which are contemptuous and against any state institution and hateful, prejudicial to law and order situation”.
It warned of legal action as per Pemra laws in case of any violation of the directives.