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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

7 March 2020, Saturday

IHC dismisses appeals for restrictions on Aurat March



Pemra says TV channels must not air ‘indecent content’

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In brief
IHC dismisses appeals for restrictions on Aurat March
Lakshmi V Menon

On 6 March 2020, the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah, observing that the petitions seeking a writ to restrict the upcoming Aurat March on 8 March (marking the International Women’s Day) were not “justiciable”, rejected the petitions conveying his hope that the participants will lawfully exercise their rights. (Dawn, 7 March 2020)

Justice Minallah made certain observations. First, he contextualized the march amid denial of womens’ rights. Second, he criticized misogynist and patriarchal norms that prevent women empowerment. Third, he provided a historical background for fundamental rights citing Quranic verses and stories of the Prophet Muhammed highlighting socio-economic and personal rights bestowed upon women. Justice Minallah asked the petitioners’ counsels regarding the implementation of such rights in Pakistan’s society. Fourth, he argued that tribal codes and societal norms preceded over Islamic rulings. While criticizing heinous Swara Wani and Karo-karo traditions, he mentioned the swelling incidences of rapes, honour-killings, child marriage, and denial of property-rights.

Petitioners worry of the usage of offensive slogans that would create disharmony and violate Islamic norms and injunctions.

 

In brief
Pemra: TV channels must not air ‘indecent content’
Lakshmi V Menon

On 6 March 2020, regarding the airing of International Women’s Day programs, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) urged all satellite TV channels to conform to the Electronic Media (Programmes & Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015 and Pemra laws; and advised to not air ‘indecent content’; reminding them their “obligation to uphold moral values”. Pemra warned channels that airing of such material would violate Code of Conduct 2015 and Section 20 (1) of Pemra (Amendment) Act, 2007. It recommended implementation of time-delay mechanisms to avoid consequences of airing inappropriate material. (Dawn, 7 March 2020)

Earlier, on 5 March, National Assembly’s Standing Committee on information and broadcasting ruled unanimously that TV channels must refrain from broadcasting Women’s Day slogans and banners with “indecent and controversial content”. 

Pemra’s advice was with reference to the LHC’s decision to allow the observance of World Women’s Day; provided in line with Article 19 of the Constitution. Pemra recalled previously aired controversial material regarding the Aurat March, while recommending future restraint. As per reports Pemra’s call centre and Citizens Portal received numerous complaints from viewers displeased with airing of banners carrying “indecent slogans”.

Previously, Pemra was criticized following public outrage on social media platforms when Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar severely abused journalist and activist Marvi Sirmed during a live talk show aired on Neo News.

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