ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s electronic media authority, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), has suspended the license of ARY News for airing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s statement during the 9:00 pm headline slot.
This action was taken after PEMRA imposed a ban on Imran Khan’s speeches and media statements, and the channel faced its wrath despite implementing the order. Other television channels also aired Imran Khan’s statement, but only ARY News faced discriminatory action.
The suspension order issued by PEMRA stated that ARY News deliberately defied the prohibition order by airing clips of Imran Khan’s speech delivered in Lahore on March 5, 2023.
The authority exercised its power vested in Section 30(3) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and suspended the broadcast satellite TV Channel license conferred to M/s ARY Communications Ltd. (ARY News) immediately until further orders.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Secretary Finance Saeed Jahan, also known as Lala Asad, strongly condemned the electronic media authority’s move and called it a “draconian act” by the PDM government.
He tweeted that courts had repeatedly denounced fascist acts of PEMRA, but unfortunately, the vendetta continues against freedom of speech.
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 pic.twitter.com/GQKdDAb4jG
— Saeed Jahan Alias Lala Asad (@LalaAsadPathan) March 5, 2023
Earlier, PEMRA had imposed a ban on the broadcasting of 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.
The authority stated that Imran Khan had been continuously alleging state institutions in his speeches and statements by leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through provocative statements against state institutions and officers. It was prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and could disturb public peace and tranquility.
Therefore, it directed all satellite TV channels to ensure that an impartial editorial board be constituted under Clause 17 of the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct 2015 to avoid contemptuous and hateful remarks against any state institution that may be prejudicial to the law and order situation. The authority also warned of legal action as per Pemra laws in case of any violation of directives.