A new order issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has advised media channels to not air "satirical content" that demeans politicians or individuals associated with law enforcement agencies.
Pakistan's media regulatory body, in a notice issued on June 12, further asked media houses to carefully select words and gestures while creating content or memes.
"Furthermore, an effective In-House Editorial Committee must also be constituted in order to ensure compliance of PEMRA laws which could sift unwarranted content," the order declared.
The directive signed by Muhammad Tahir, General Manager, perations-Broadcast Media, was shared by a noted journalist.
Ok. Is PEMRA also saying that TV channels shouldn't air even words such as 'Khalai Makhlooq', 'Farishtay' or 'Mehekma-e-zaraat'? pic.twitter.com/KtIAZ5Y4VK— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) June 13, 2019
"Public sentiments are agonised by the trend of demeaning leadership of the country. TV viewers are expressing loath and disapproval on comic and satirical depiction of political leadership as well as law enforcers," reads the order.
The latest gag order issued by the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Naya’ Pakistan was met with the heat of Pakistani mediapersons on micro-blogging site.
Hasan Zaidi, a Pak journalist, took to Twitter and shared, “Pemra (read government) warns TV channels against broadcasting any satirical content, cartoons, memes, or comic depiction of leaders. And then they say one is exaggerating things by calling it fascism."
Pemra (read government) warns TV channels against broadcasting any satirical content, cartoons, memes, or comic depiction of leaders. And then they say one is exaggerating things by calling it fascism. pic.twitter.com/rb3Dsy9fsG— Hasan Zaidi (@hyzaidi) June 13, 2019
Another scribe said, "Welcome to Naya Pakistan. WoW, the media are being advised, by PEMRA. This is called, controlled media. It was Asad Umar, said; “Media is free,” but he forgot to say that his govt. sends letter of Advice"
Welcome to Naya Pakistan— Veengas (@VeengasJ) June 13, 2019
WoW, the media are being advised, 👇🏽 by PEMRA. This is called, controlled media
It was Asad Umar, said; “Media is free,” but he forgot to say that his govt. sends letter of Advice pic.twitter.com/ssP2rkmYaA
"PEMRA’s notice on satire is the most satirical thing I have come across in a while," tweeted another Pakistani journalist.
PEMRA’s notice on satire is the most satirical thing I have come across in a while.— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) June 13, 2019
However, a few came out in support of the gag order and said freedom of expression should come with responsibility.
Lol tum karo to “teach abusive trolls a lesson”?— ChaiCoffsKey (@ZTan14377) June 13, 2019
PEMRA Karey to fascism? https://t.co/7GJ9kL5INY
Freedom of expression with responsibility. PEMRA has issued a good advice. Satirical content should be aired but in a good taste, with wit and intelligence. We deserve a better & intelligent humor rather than third rated content.— Salman Javed (@M_EssJay) June 13, 2019
How will media take it though? pic.twitter.com/0JsvdnI9BU