The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) served a show-cause notice to 14 news channels for failing to act upon its advisory to avoid commenting on references filed in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against senior judges, a press release by the regulatory authority said on Saturday.
The channels that received the notices are Geo News, DawnNewsTV, Dunya News, ARY News, Channel 24, 92 News, Express News, Aaj News, Ab Tak News, GNN, Samaa TV, Sach News, Neo TV and Koh-i-Noor.
Pemra directed the said news channels to ensure that orders issued by the Supreme Court and SJC as well as advisories issued by the regulatory authority are acted upon and warned against further violation.
The body also ordered the aforementioned channels to submit a response by June 11.
On Friday, Pemra had barred all television channels from airing news, discussion or analysis on the issue except the news on the reference filed by the government against the judges for allegedly owning undeclared properties abroad.
Citing the July 7, 2018 judgement of the Supreme Court, Pemra recalled that through the judgement directives were issued to media that no media discussion, articles or editorials would be written or published and no public comments would be made on the proceedings of the SJC and only the proceedings would be reported.
Moreover, the Supreme Court through Sept 12, 2018 suo motu case had also prohibited discussions on sub judice matters.
Pemra warned that in case of non-compliance, the authority would proceed in accordance with the Pemra Ordinance 2002.
Journalist association condemns notices
The Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) condemned the issuance of show-cause notices by Pemra in a statement issued today and demanded the regulatory authority to withdraw them.
The journalists’ body said that the government was “strangulating free voices of the media day in and day out”.
“Article 19(A) guarantees protection of individual right of free expression of their views as well as a free media and Pemra has been violating the Constitution by issuing arbitrary notices to news channels,” said Ashraf Khan, the president of KUJ.