PEMRA in the spotlight

Jan 11th, 2011 | By | Category: PEMRA, Samaa TV, Waqt TV

PEMRAPEMRA is finding itself in the spotlight this week, its actions getting mixed reviews from commenters for its inconsistency in enforcing electronic media regulations.

Blog Cafe Pyala notes that PEMRA issued fines on Rs. 1 million each to Samaa TV and Waqt TV for airing an interview of Mumtaz Qadri who has confessed to murdering for Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. PEMRA has also proposed a bill to ban TV talk shows from discussing sub-judice matters.

Blog Cafe Pyala praised the move saying, “finally some backbone from PEMRA”. Meanwhile The Nation has condemned the move as mistaken writing that PEMRA os “a tool of the government for suppressing the freedom of press and the free flow of information”.

However, this was not the only instance in which PEMRA is related to the Salmaan Taseer assassination case. An article in Dawn of last week suggests that an official of PEMRA was detained for a role in motivating Qadri, though this has received less attention from the media than the fines against Samaa and Waqt.

But PEMRA actions related to the Salmaan Taseer assassination case are not the only complaints being levied against the agency.

Writing on his blog Tārikh-nāma Shahid Saeed observes that PEMRA is not doing an adequate job of enforcing advertisement time and content regulations, and he has a suspicion as why this might be:

Why you think PEMRA might not be doing it’s job and imposing fines on the channel, besides lethargy and plain impotence? Well maybe because Article 9(7) of the Broadcasting Regulations, 2002 reads

The licensee shall pay to the Authority 2% of the gross revenue receipts for airing or broadcasting the advertisements on his system.

And article 9(8) of the Cable TV Regulations, 2002

The licensee shall pay to the Authority 5% of the gross revenue receipts for airing or distributing the advertisements on his cable television system

Well, when you are getting a share of the ad revenue in order to remain functional outside tax payer money, you allow the channels to go beyond the legal limits and increase your salaries maybe? Why check the cable operator showing 90 minutes of ads in an hour?

Shahid does note that a June 2009 news article says states that PEMRA hired a firm “Trase” to monitor the ad times and that Chairman PEMRA Malik Mushtaq “also claimed that not a single channel has ever paid 5% of their revenues to Pemra or the government, as stipulated”.

An essential part of PEMRA’s mandate is to improve the standards of information, education and entertainment and to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance by optimization the free flow of information.

PEMRA is Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, not Pakistan Electronic Media Advertising Association. If PEMRA is going fulfill its mandate, it needs to exercise its authority. We should also ask whether Articles 9(7) and 9(8) of the Broadcasting Regulations, 2002 are preventing that from happening.

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  2. You missed something funny by Nation on Jan 11




    All happened same day., LOL # most credible newspaper. my foot

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