PEMRA’s decision barring anchors from giving their “opinions” attracts criticism from PTI leaders

Pemra said that the anchors need to limit their role to that of a moderator from now on and should “not to appear as experts”.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) decision barring anchors from giving their opinion in talk shows has sparked a social media outrage. People believe it is an attempt to sabotage press freedom in Pakistan.

In the notification, which took many by surprise on the weekly holiday, Pemra said that the anchors need to limit their role to that of a moderator from now on and should “not to appear as experts” on the shows.

“Participants/invitees should be selected with due care having credibility as fair and unbiased analysts with requisite knowledge/expertise on the subject matter. As per Pemra code of conduct, the role of anchors is to moderate the programmes in an objective, unbiased and impartial manner, excluding themselves from their personal opinions, biases and judgements on any issue.

Therefore, anchors hosting exclusive regular shows should not appear in talk shows whether own or other channels as subject matter expert,” the notification read.

“Pemra has been issuing repeated directives asking news channels to refrain from airing discussion, views and analysis on sub judice/under-trial matters and a number of show-cause notices were served on the channels for holding such programmes to derogate and malign judiciary and instructions to tarnish the credibility of regulator before appellate forums,” the order continued.

Pemra said the IHC had also noticed that some anchorpersons / journalists held speculative discussions on Oct 25 on some TV channels and alleged a purported deal with regard to the bail granted to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Oct 26.

Source: DAWN

“This was believed to be an attempt to tarnish the image and integrity of honourable superior courts and to make their judgement controversial,” it added.

While Pemra defines it as necessary regulations, people belonging to media fraternity believe it is a malicious attempt to curb freedom of expression. Even PTI leaders have condemned the recent move.

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