By Atiya Riffat
On Wednesday Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said that the anchors engaged in pranks or acts not profiting the sacredness of the Holy month—Ramazan risks a lifetime ban.
Justice Siddiqui made these remarks during the hearing session of a code-of-conduct petition for morning shows and Ramazan transmissions. The judge said organising such games of pure luck and chance as lucky draws and the distribution of Umrah tickets goes against the sanctity of the holy month.
The Justice of Islamabad High Court instructed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to issue notices to the anchor-persons Faisal Qureshi, Amir Liaquat, Sahir Lodhi, Fahad Mustafa and Waseem Badami along many others on this matter.
The judge further added that a lifetime ban could also be imposed on these anchor-persons if they would fail to abide by the given instructions and would in any way disrespect the sacredness of Ramazan. There is zero percent regard for the ideology of Pakistan and its frontiers, he added.
Ali Zafar—Counsel for the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) said that freedom of expression is the basic right. He added that the PEMRA had been officially given the task of regulating the television channels. He said that the authority already has the power to take action against the channels in case of any violations. Zafar added that the court intervention could complex matters.
Zafar further said that which channel is broadcasting appropriate content and which is not is the matter and responsibility of the authority. He said that courts could issue instructions if PEMRA fails to effectively perform its defined duties.
Justice Siddiqui said that courts could not just silently watch and added that activities like lucky draws and dancing were prohibited.
He further said that PEMRA must ensure that scholars only having PhDs deliver talks on Islamic issues.
The court also asked for the submission of a report on the broadcast of Indian channels in Pakistan. A blanket ban was directed on the foreign-origin dramas, films and ads, especially from India.
The court told the concerning committee to submit a compliance report on the implementation of the court instructions upon the completion of first ten days of Ramazan.