ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed all not at the cost media houses to be ‘cautious’ and follow rules set by the body while discussing the Iran-Saudi Arabia standoff.
“It has been observed that some TV channels are trying to make the issue more controversial instead of remaining neutral and addressing it professionally,” read the statement released by the authority.
The regulatory body also maintained that some of the programmes aired after the recent Saudi-Iran row also used words that might have hurt sentiments of various communities and sects living in the country, clearly breaching the National Action Plan (NAP).
“Airing such shows is a clear violation of Article 19 of Pakistan’s constitution and Supreme Court’s directions for the electronic media,” said the statement.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran erupted into a full-blown diplomatic crisis on January 4 as Riyadh and its Sunni Arab allies cut or reduced ties with Tehran, sparking global concern.
Following angry exchanges over Saudi Arabia’s execution Saturday of prominent Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Riyadh and then Bahrain and Sudan severed relations with Tehran, the main Shia power.
Pemra has also advised the broadcasters that since violating ‘Pemra Act section 29 30’ is a crime, they should take extra caution when debating topics that might damage friendly relations with our neighboring countries and others.
The press statement released by the regulatory body also includes directives for electronic media as set by the Supreme Court.
The directives clearly state that no content should be aired which might hurt the sentiments of any community, religious group, disturb the harmony among them, or fall under the hate-speech against any sect. NNI