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Ban On TV channels

08 June, 2007

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Shaken by lawyers and opposition movement, President General Pervez Musharraf has imposed fresh curbs on the electronic media , sparking protests from journalists, politicians and human rights activists all over the country.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Ordinance (2007), issued by the president empowers PEMRA to take action on its own against television channels which violate rules.

The ordinance authorises PEMRA to confiscate the equipment of broadcasters and seal the premises without consulting the council of complaints.

The decree followed the controversial directives issued by the PEMRA on Saturday last barring television networks from airing talk shows and carrying out live coverage of events related to the judicial crisis.

The council was envisaged in the amendments passed in February last. The amendment increased the fine for violators to Rs10 million from existing Rs1 million.

Soon after the promulgation of the ordinance, journalists took to streets in the country, deep concerns are also expressed by international journalist and human rights organisations.

Organisations representing politicians and lawyers condemned the move while the parliamentary opposition announced plans for requisition of a special session of the National Assembly’s standing committee on information.

Analysts believe that this move is not unexpected. The blockage of live broadcast by different TV channels on the part of government and its allied parties had already suggested that something is going to happen, they opine.

Here are some questions
1) Is this ordinance a calculated move to gag free media?
2) Do you think that it would work out as the goverment plans in this era?
3) Do you think the issuance of this ordinance is a blunder after blunder?
4) How will it affect the government`s credibility?

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