PEMRA chairman submits unconditional apology in IHC

PEMRA's senior official suspended during harassment inquiry
ISLAMABAD:  Chairman PEMRA Mirza Saleem Baig submitted his unconditional apology in the Islamabad High Court in connection with a contempt of court case.
The high court resumed the hearing of the contempt notice issued to the PEMRA chairman for using the court’s name without prior permission or context as means of persuasion to enforce strict guidelines on media houses and news anchors.
During the hearing, Mirza Saleem Baig submitted an apology and said that he could not even think of misusing the court’s name and the notice was not issued to challenge the powers of the court. He requested IHC for withdrawing show-cause notice over contempt of the court issued on November 1.
The chairman also submitted a written reply in the court which stated
that the authority had clarified its notification for not imposing
restrictions on news anchors for joining other talks shows. The reply
also stated it had been clarified that news anchors were not restricted to participate in marathon transmission.
Earlier, PEMRA had issued new directives to all TV channels regarding analyses, views, and discussion on sub-judice matters which resulted in tremendous backlash from the general public, media and prominent political entities.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had barred television anchors from giving their opinions during talk shows and limited their role to be moderators.
“As per the PEMRA code of conduct, the role of anchors is to moderate the programs in an objective, unbiased and impartial manner, excluding themselves from the personal opinions, biases, and judgments on any issue. Therefore, anchors hosting regular shows should not appear in TV shows whether own or other channels as subject matter experts,” a notice issued by PEMRA said.
The court sought a report of PEMRA actions on such violations with a reprimand.
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