Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

Imran Khan banned from airwaves by Pak media watchdog

Imran Khan banned from airwaves by Pak media watchdog

ISLAMABAD: In view of his “provocative statements against the state institutions and officers”, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Sunday imposed a ban on broadcasting live and recorded speeches of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on all satellite TV channels with immediate effect, report agencies.
The decision came hours after the ousted prime minister — removed from power via a no-confidence move in April last year — delivered a hard-hitting speech outside his Zaman Park residence in Lahore following a police team's arrival there to arrest him in the Toshakhana case on Sunday.
In its notification, the media watchdog directed all the TV channels to refrain from airing Khan’s live or recorded statements, speeches and conversations.
“Imran Khan is continuously alleging state institutions by labeling baseless allegations,” it added.
The notification further said that the PTI chief, through his incendiary statements, spread hate against the institutions and their officers. His statements may cause a law and order situation in the country, it added.

The media regulatory authority, on February 21, also banned television channels from coverage of terror attacks.

The directives had come in continuation to the earlier orders on the subject asking TV channels to adhere to the provisions of the PEMRA Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015.

Hours after the notice, PEMRA also suspended private TV station ARY News, which backs Khan.

In the first week of February, the media watchdog imposed a ban on TV channels for coverage of the rape incident in Islamabad’s F-9 park which took place on the second day of the same month.

The electronic regulatory authority issued a notification regarding the ban on coverage of the rape incident citing irresponsible coverage by a “few” channels revealing the victim’s identity in the process.

Ousted Pakistan prime minister has been facing the latest hurdle as he campaigns for early elections.

Meanwhile the 70-year-old former cricketing superstar has been tangled in a slew of elaborate legal cases, a frequent fixture in Pakistan's mudslinging politics.

Pakistan has stringent speech controls. The constitution allows free speech to be restricted in the interests of public order, decency or morality, a provision rights groups say is designed to quash dissent.

TV channels are regularly ordered to modify their coverage for political reasons, and last month the Wikipedia website was briefly blocked for allegedly hosting blasphemous content.

Islamabad police officers, who travelled to Khan's home in Lahore, were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempt to detain him on Sunday after he failed to appear in a corruption case late last month.

He is accused of failing to declare gifts received during his time in office or the profit made from selling them.

In 2018, Khan swept to power thanks to an electorate weary of the dynastic politics of Pakistan's two major parties.

He promised to do away with entrenched corruption and cronyism, but has become bogged down in like-for-like allegations with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Nonetheless Khan remains hugely popular among the nation's youth, and his speeches draw huge viewer figures on television while the highlights trend on social media.