Electronic Media Editors Dismiss New Curbs by PEMRA

Instead of reported on government-wide meetings, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered satellite television channels to dismiss the orders from the media regulatory body.

In a statement, Pemra said news channels should report closely on decisions adopted in cabinet meetings and depend mainly on a cabinet member's briefings to avoid "false or speculative news" from appearing.

The Electronic Media Editors and News Directors Association (Aemend) is rejecting the recent limitations on television networks imposed by Pemra on how to report on cabinet meetings and government decision-making. President Azhar Abbas said in a statement that Pemra is not a regulator, but is transforming it into a "censorship tool." Mr. Abbas has said,

Such measures to curb the freedom of the media make Pemra problematic. Aemend is of the strong opinion that it is the media's duty to cover public matters if there is news about the Federal Cabinet's procedures and decisions and if official circles refuse to state anything on the record. Further, senior government officials themselves often have anonymous information about cabinet proceedings.

However, the Prime Minister of the Aemend has explained that the Government is entitled to object to any news channel article. Aemend has called upon journalists' associations and media organizations to uphold this attempt to filter news and undermine media freedom in the case of the latest restrictions imposed by PEMRA.