‘Pick up the remote and change the channel’ – Jalan author questions PEMRA’s ban
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on the ARY Digital drama serial ‘Jalan’ after only 13 episodes were aired. PEMRA issued a notification and said:
Many things in the play are against religious and social values, and we have received many complaints in this regard. ARY Digital has been repeatedly warned to review the play’s content and bring it in line with the Pakistani values. However, the ARY channel management did not take any significant action, so we banned the drama.
The ban on ‘Jalan’ drew strong reactions from several social media groups, which PEMRA termed as “social policing”.
The writer of the drama, Sedrah Sehar Imran, saw the ban as unjustified. To explain herself, she said:
People who object to this drama have not seen this drama. ‘Jalan’ is the story of two sisters, not of a woman’s love affair with her brother-in-law. The main idea of this story is how competition between sisters destroys the family. This drama aims to showcase the importance of parents’ attitude in the home. In our society, older siblings are repeatedly asked to sacrifice for their younger brother or sister. The drama addresses how this behavior often has a terrible effect on younger siblings.
Addressing PEMRA, Sedrah stated:
PEMRA should clearly state our social, cultural, moral, and religious values and what we can and cannot show. Will watching this drama make every other woman fall in love with her brother-in-law?
Sedrah further stated:
Families who think that this drama may spoil their home environment should not watch it. There are dozens of channels. These families should pick up the remote and change the channel.
Javed Jabbar said:
Although PEMRA has the right to ban any inappropriate program that incites hatred or violence, the organization should exercise its right with utmost responsibility and caution.
Javed Jabbar concluded by saying that PEMRA’s ban on ‘Jalan’ is inappropriate:
PEMRA needs to decide after seeking the views of social organizations such as the Supreme Court Bar Association, journalists’ organizations, and other civil society organizations. There is a need for an impartial media forum in Pakistan to investigate these issues.
It should be noted that recently PEMRA also banned the re-broadcasting of two other Pakistani dramas, HUM TV’s ‘Pyar Ke Sadqay’ and ARY Digital’s ‘Ishqiya’. A BOL TV talk show was also banned on the grounds of “immoral” content.
Following the ban, on the 18th of August, PEMRA issued a letter to all the Pakistani TV channels, which contained drama content creation guidelines that align with the Pakistani values.
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