Pakistani media told to not broadcast unverifiable news about Army

13 May 2017 | By Vaneet Randhawa

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), issued a statement warning to all the TV channels against broadcasting unverified news or interpretations about the Pakistan Army.

PEMRA said such unverifiable content can be problematic if it attacks the military or slanders its 'image.'

The statement said: "Those found in violation of the new PEMRA guideline would be charged under Section-27 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002."

In context: Pakistan's age old attempts to silence media

Clipping media's powerPakistani leadership passes draconian laws to silence media

In 1962, the then Pakistan President Ayub Khan passed the Press and Publication Ordinance that enabled the government to seize newspapers, close down news channels, and arrest journalists.

In the 1980s, the PPO became worse under General Zia-Ul-Haq.

The new amendments stated that a publisher could be prosecuted if the administration didn't like a story "even if it was factual and of national interest."

2000sMusharraf smartens from Kargil, tries to strengthen media

2 events- the Kargil war and hijacking of the India Airliner by militants made Musharraf realize that Pakistani media was much weaker than Indian media.

He tried to liberalize it so it could become a tool to be used against India.

Media, however, became too powerful, as was seen during the 2007 Lawyer's Movement's struggle and became a reason for Musharraf's eventual downfall.

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PEMRA: Tool employed by Musharraf to silence media

2002PEMRA: Tool employed by Musharraf to silence media

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority was set up in 2002 to "facilitate and promote a free, fair and independent electronic media".

However, it was often used to silence broadcast media that it didn't agree with.

Anything that defamed "the head of state, or members of the armed forces, or executive, legislative or judicial organs of the state," could lead to cancellation of license.

PEMRA goes all out to snub criticism

If PEMRA deemed a broadcast to be "false or baseless" it could lead to up to 3 years in jail and a fine of almost 10 million rupees (US$165,000), and the cancellation of the license.

02 Nov 2016Pakistan ranks 158th on 'Freedom of Press' ranking

Over the decade, journalists have been targeted as means to silence the media.

Since 2010, 61 journalists have been killed, 14 in 2014 alone.

Any coverage deemed unpatriotic often followed by threats and intimidation.

Reporters without borders ranked "Pakistan number 158 out of 180 countries based on freedom of the press."

Pakistan media was listed 'Not Free' by Freedom House in its recent report.

13 May 2017Pakistani media told to not broadcast unverifiable news about Army