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WHAT IS ELECTRONIC MEDIA.................................................................................................

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BACKGROUND OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA IN PAKISTAN.....................................................2
NO SPECIFIC LAW....................................................................................................................2
EARLY CHANNELS..................................................................................................................3
INTRODUCTION TO PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority).....................4
PAKISTAN ELECTRONIC MEDIA REGULATORY AUTHORITY ORDINANCE.............4
PEMRA’s MANDATE............................................................................................................4
PEMRA AMENDMENT ORDINANCE, 2004..............................................................................5
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FINALLY PASSED........................................................................5
THE PEMRA BILL IN FEB 2007...............................................................................................5
ANALYSIS OF SELECTED...........................................................................................................6
PROVISIONS OF PEMRA BILL...................................................................................................6
POWER OF INSPECTION AND SEIZUR OF LICENSEE’S EQUIPMENT...............................8
CONDITIONS OF ISSUENCE OF............................................................................................9
LICENES FROM PEMRA.............................................................................................................9
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEDIA...........................................................................................10
BROADCASTERS/CABLE TV OPERATORS...........................................................................10
PROGRAMMES........................................................................................................................10
ADVERTISEMENT..................................................................................................................11
CONCLUSIVELY THE MAIN PURPOSE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PEMRA.........13

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Syed Sajjad Ali Shah, Chief Justice of Pakistan in a foreword of a book on
Mass Media Laws and Regulations in Pakistan says

"All over the world, the citizens' right to acquire


knowledge and information is increasingly being
proclaimed and recognized as a fundamental right.
The international human rights instruments as well
as national constitutions and laws, acknowledge
and safeguard this right."

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC MEDIA


Channels of communication that serve many diverse functions, such as offering a variety of
entertainment with either mass or specialized appeal, communicating news and information, or
displaying advertising messages. The media carry the advertisers' messages and serve as the vital
link between the seller of a product or service and the consumer. Available types of media
include print, electronic, out-of-home, and direct mail. Print usually refers to newspapers and
magazines but also includes directories, school and church yearbooks and newsletters, and
programs at sporting events and theater presentations. Electronic media are usually referred to as
broadcast media, or radio and television, including cable. Any single form of communication is
known as a medium.

BACKGROUND OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA IN PAKISTAN

Television was introduced in Pakistan in 1964. At that time, Pakistan Television (PTV) was the
only channel available to the viewers for a few hours every day, from evening till midnight. It
was introduced as a state-controlled medium and remains to this day a corporation of the state
where a Board of Governors appointed by the Government of Pakistan, controls its affairs. The
Managing Director, also appointed by the Government of Pakistan with consent from the Board,
implements the rules for the Corporation and its employees. By the 1990s, PTV was hit by
financial mismanagement, an overwhelming debt and a rapidly plunging popularity among
viewers. It also began to lose advertising revenue to Hindi channels.

NO SPECIFIC LAW

There was no law specifically enacted to establish Pakistan


Television Corporation which was incorporated as a joint
stock company in 1967 and then, upon the Memorandum
and papers went through minor amendments. The entire
share-holding rests with the Federal Government.

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EARLY CHANNELS

Shalimar Recording Company Limited (SRC)


which operated the STN TV channel was also a
joint stock company in which Government held 54
per cent shares.

In 1990 SRC awarded an exclusive, monopolistic contract to a private sector company known as
Network Television Marketing (NTM) to provide all programming and advertising to the STN
Channel originally known as PTN i.e. People's Television Network. However, the Media
Regulatory Authority Ordinance 1997 contains a section that excludes the continuation of private
monopolies in electronic media.

Shaheen Pay television, the country's first "wireless" cable TV operates as a corporate enterprise
registered under the Companies Ordinance 1984 in which a foreign investor holds 50 per cent
shares, a Pakistani based group holds 24 per cent shares and the Shaheen Foundation, sponsored
by the Pakistan Air Force for the welfare of retired personnel, holds 25 per cent shares.

The solution tried by the then Nawaz Sharif government (Feb. 1997- Oct. 1999) was to launch
PTV World in 1998.

However, this proved to be insufficient. Increasing globalization


and market forces ultimately prevailed and in January 2002,
Musharraf government (Oct 1999 - to date) approved an ordinance
allowing independent electronic media.

Today one-and-half years’ later,


Pakistanis can access several
private channels such as GEO,
Indus Vision, and ARY Digital
being some of the major ones.

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INTRODUCTION TO PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media
Regulatory Authority)
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) established in March 2002 under the
Pemra Ordinance promulgated in the same month has reportedly already issued 29 licences for
new private radio stations, It was initially placed under the information ministry but was later
shifted to the cabinet division in line with the government’s policy of ensuring the neutrality of
regulatory authorities

PAKISTAN ELECTRONIC MEDIA REGULATORY AUTHORITY


ORDINANCE
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a law acknowledges the right of private citizens to
use the air-waves of the country for the operation of privately-owned radio stations and TV
stations. Also for the first time, the law permits electronic media to broadcast news bulletins
other than those originated by the Government-controlled PTV and PBC.

PEMRA’s MANDATE

Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment ;

Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current
affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic
development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of
public and national interest ;

Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving
the access of the people to mass media at the local and community level ;

Ensure accountability, transparency and good governance by optimization the free


flow of information.

FUNCTIONS OF THE AUTHORITY

The Authority is responsible for facilitating and


regulating the establishment and operation of all
broadcast media and distribution services in Pakistan
established for the purpose of international, national,
provincial, district, and local or special target
audiences.

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PEMRA AMENDMENT ORDINANCE, 2004

Despite the fact that the Federal Government deregulated the field of electronic media in 2002
and began to grant permanent licenses for the establishment and operation of electronic media
stations to the private sector, it has been reluctant to grant such licenses to owners of existing
media in Pakistan. The Federal Government has commonly cited the Pakistan Electronic Media
Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 as the basis upon which owners of existing media
enterprises may not be granted a broadcast media, distribution service or CTV license.

The Federal Government maintains that the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 contains a prohibition
on the grant of such licenses existing media owners may be issued with a broadcast (or other
electronic media) license.

Due to pressure from existing media groups in Pakistan, such as the Dawn Group of
Newspapers, the government has been forced to consider amending the PEMRA Ordinance,
2002. As a result, since 2004, the PEMRA Bill, an amendment to the existing PEMRA
Ordinance, 2002, has been under deliberation in Parliament.

The PEMRA Bill envisages amending the existing provisions of the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002
so as to allow existing owners of media enterprises to own or control more than a single media
enterprise.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FINALLY PASSED

THE PEMRA BILL IN FEB 2007

After three years of deliberation, the National


Assembly finally passed the PEMRA Bill in
February 2007. This bill has not yet come into force
as it still awaits Presidential assent. This document
attempts to highlight key areas in which the
PEMRA Bill seeks to amend the PEMRA
Ordinance, 2002 and the effect of such amendments
on existing or potential media owners in Pakistan.

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ANALYSIS OF SELECTED
PROVISIONS OF PEMRA BILL
Ambit of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA):

• Widen the ambit of the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002

The PEMRA Bill seeks to widen the ambit of the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 as it allows for
PEMRA to regulate the establishment and operation of all “electronic”
media as opposed to merely “broadcast” media. “Electronic media” covers both broadcast media
and distribution services. This effectively gives PEMRA complete control over the supply and
dissemination of information through electronic media.

• Regulate the distribution of foreign and local television and radio channels in
Pakistan

In addition, PEMRA may now regulate the distribution of foreign and local television and radio
channels in Pakistan. This of course, is an extremely wide ranging
clause as it not only allows for PEMRA to regulate the presence of local and foreign television
and radio channels, but also the distribution of the same.

• PEMRA will be responsible for issuing licenses to international and national scale

To sum up, PEMRA will be responsible for issuing licenses to international and national scale
broadcast and cable television stations, for provincial scale
broadcast and cable television stations, for local area community based radio and television
broadcast stations, for specific and specialized subject broadcast and
cable television stations, for distribution services for the same, and for any uplinking facility
(including teleporting and DSNG’s).

• Under Section 18, PEMRA may further sub-categorise the above categories

Furthermore, under Section 18, PEMRA may further sub-categorise the above categories “as it
may deem fit.” This is an extremely ambiguous conferral of power as the Bill makes no mention
of any criteria that PEMRA must apply or
refer to when creating such sub-categories. As such, it may lead to complete arbitrary and ad hoc
use of power. For example, recently, upon perusing the PEMRA website, we discovered that
PEMRA had indeed sub-categorised the
category of “uplinking facility.” No notification of such a change in the Rules or Regulations (as
promulgated by PEMRA) has been communicated to the public or been published in the official
gazette. These categories seem to have suddenly emerged on the website and on the website
alone. Do they have the force of law? No one is certain, but it appears that applicants are
expected to abide by them

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• Section 19(2) of the PEMRA Bill allows PEMRA to determine the number of
licenses to be issued in each category or sub-category mentioned above

Once again, this is an absolute power and PEMRA is not obliged to conform to any principles of
equality, fairness, due process etc in determining the number of licenses to be issued. This may
perpetuate the current scenario wherein certain
existing media owners have been granted a icense/temporary uplinking permission by PEMRA
whereas others have not, and no valid reason has been ascribed by PEMRA for such
discrimination. This Section legitimises PEMRA’s ad hoc grant of licenses and provides it with a
cop out in instances where the Federal Government is reluctant to issue a license to certain media
owners, but not to others.

• Ability to grant exemptions from any provisions of the Ordinance

Section 32 of the PEMRA Bill gives PEMRA the ability to grant exemptions from any
provisions of the Ordinance, in instances where PEMRA is of the view that the exemption serves
the public interest. Under the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002, any exemptions so made must be “based
on guidelines and criteria identified in the rules” and further provides that “such exemptions shall
be made in conformity
with the principles of equality and equity as enshrined in the constitution.” Interestingly, the
PEMRA Bill removes these requirements, thus leaving it open for PEMRA to grant exemptions
without adhering to prescribed guidelines or rules of fairness.

• Enables PEMRA to prescribe standards and measures for Broadcasting

Section 39(2) (c) of the PEMRA Bill enables PEMRA to prescribe standards and measures for
the establishment of broadcast media stations and installation of equipment.

• PEMRA and the government will jointly prescribe terms and conditions

The PEMRA Bill purports to introduce Section 39(2) (d), which provides that PEMRA and the
government will jointly prescribe terms and conditions for broadcast media and/or distribution
service operators who own, control or operate
more than one media enterprise. The PEMRA Bill is silent as to what sort of terms and
conditions it is authorised to prescribe from time to time and does not provide a general
framework of rules and regulations that licensees can expect to abide by.

• PEMRA and the government must jointly define the circumstances of media
ownership

The PEMRA Bill also introduces Section 39(2) (e) which states that PEMRA and the
government must jointly define the circumstances constituting undue concentration of media
ownership and abuse of powers and anti-competitive
practices by media companies. Once again, no further clarification has been given on the kind of
criteria that PEMRA and the government will rely on in order to

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determine whether anti-competitive practices are taking place

POWER OF INSPECTION AND SEIZUR OF LICENSEE’S


EQUIPMENT

• Can inspect a licensee’s premises and equipment

PEMRA has widespread powers to inspect a licensee’s premises and equipment at any time
and to confiscate or seize a licensee’s equipment if it deems fit.

• PEMRA’s officers to enter into a licensee’s premises for the purposes of inspection

Section 29 allows for any of PEMRA’s officers to enter into a licensee’s premises for the
purposes of inspection, without any forewarning. The PEMRA Ordinance,
2002 provided for such a power, but stated that such a power may only be used upon the
provision of “reasonable notice.” The PEMRA Bill seeks to do away with the requirement of
“reasonable notice” and allows PEMRA officials to conduct random searches.

• Any of PEMRA’s officers can undertake investigation

Furthermore, the Section 29(4) of the PEMRA Bill allows for PEMRA to authorise any of its
officers to undertake “investigation, in the manner it may prescribe, in any matter…”

• Not compulsory to show the notice cause of sealing

Section 29(5) does away with the requirement for PEMRA to issue a show cause notice to
the licensee before seizing its equipment or sealing its premises.
Regulation of Content.

• To check indecent material

Section 20(c) of the PEMRA Bill expands on Section 20(c) of the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002
and provides that not only must licensees ensure that all programmes and advertisements
do not contain or encourage violence, terrorism, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination,
sectarianism, extremism, militancy, hatred, but also that they do not contain or encourage
pornography, obscenity,
vulgarity, “or other material offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency.” This
clause is extremely vague and is not rooted in any tangible criteria. As a result, this section
(in the form to be found in the PEMRA
Ordinance, 2002) has been used as the pretext for PEMRA to issue circulars to electronic
media owners requiring them to prohibit the airing of programmes which deal with the issue
of Kashmir, the reporting of national tragedies and
incidents, and most recently, of any programmes reporting the proceedings of the Supreme
Judicial Council or “any programmes concerning issues pending before the Council” in the case
of the referral against the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

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• Prohibit any broadcast that violates any part of Section 20(c) of the PEMRA Bill.

The PEMRA Bill inserts a new Section 27, under which PEMRA may prohibit any broadcast
media or distribution service operator from broadcasting or distributing any programme or
advertisement if PEMRA is of the opinion that it violates any part of Section 20(c) of the
PEMRA Bill.

CONDITIONS OF ISSUENCE OF
LICENES FROM PEMRA

• The Authority shall process each application and on being satisfied that the
applicant(s) fulfils the conditions and the criteria and procedure as provided for in
section 19 of the Ordinance, may, on receipt of the applicable license fee, as
determined through the bidding process, and the prescribed security deposit, issue
license to the applicant(s) concerned.

• In addition to General Terms and Conditions contained in the Schedule, the


Authority may impose on the licensee such other terms and conditions as appear to it
necessary;

• The Authority will consult the Government of the Province, with regard to
proposed location of the broadcast station and the possible area of coverage, through
the Chief Secretary of the Province or an officer so authorized by him.

• The Authority, if satisfied that the issue of the license to a particular person is not
in the public interest, may, for reasons to be recorded in writing and after giving the
applicant an opportunity of being heard, refuse to grant a licence.

• The Authority shall take decision on the application for a licence within one
hundred days from receipt of the application;

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• The Authority shall make regulations setting the procedures for an open and
transparent bidding process in such cases where the number of the applicants is likely
to exceed the number of licenses which the Authority has fixed for that category of
licence.

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEDIA


BROADCASTERS/CABLE TV OPERATORS
PROGRAMMES

(1) No programme shall be aired which:

1 (a) Passes derogatory remarks about any religion or sect or community or uses visuals or
words contemptuous of religious sects and ethnic groups or which promotes communal and
sectarian attitudes or disharmony:
2 (b) contains anything pornographic, obscene or indecent or is likely to deprave, corrupt or
injure the public morality;
3 (c) contains an abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to
expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of
race or caste, national, ethnic or linguistic origin, colour or religion or sect, sex, sexual
orientation, age or mental or physical disability;
4 (d) contains anything defamatory or knowingly false;
5 (e) is likely to encourage and incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of
law and order or which promotes anti-national or anti-state attitudes.
6 (f) contains anything amounting to contempt of court.
7 (g) contains aspersions against the Judiciary and integrity of the Armed Forces of
Pakistan;
8 (h) maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social,
public and moral life of the country.
9 (i) is against basic cultural values, morality and good manners.
10 (j) brings into contempt Pakistan or its people or tends to undermine its integrity or
solidarity as an independent and sovereign country.
11 (k) promotes, aids or abets any offence which is cognizable under the Pakistan Penal
Code.
12 (l) denigrates men or women through the depiction in any manner of the figure, in such a
way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory;
13 (m) denigrates children;
14 (n) contains anything which tends to glorify crime or criminals;

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15 (o) contains material which may be detrimental to Pakistan’s relations with friendly
countries; or
16 (p) contains material which is against ideology of Pakistan or Islamic values.

(2) Particular care should be taken to ensure that programmes meant for children
do not contain objectionable language or are disrespectful to their parents or
elders.
(3) Programmes must not be directed against the sanctity of home, family and
marital harmony.
(4) While reporting the proceedings of the Parliament or the Provincial Assemblies,
such portion of the proceedings as the Chairman or the Speaker may have ordered
to be expunged, shall mot be broadcast or distributed and every effort shall be made
to release a fair account of the proceedings of the Parliament or the Provincial
Assemblies.

ADVERTISEMENT

(1) Advertisements aired or distributed by a broadcast or cable TV station shall


be designed in such a manner that it conforms to the laws of the country
and is not offensive to morality, decency and religious sects of the people of
Pakistan.

(2) No Advertisement shall be permitted which:

1 (i) Promotes or supports sedition, anarchy or violence in country;


2 (ii) Is against any provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan or any
other law for the time being in force;
3 (iii) Tends to incite people to crime, cause disorder or violence or
breach of law or glorifies violence or obscenity in any way;
4 (iv) Glorifies adultery, lustful passions or alcoholic drinks or the
non-Islamic Values;
5 (v) Distorts historical facts, traditions of Pakistan or the person or
personality of a national leader or a state dignitary;
6 (vi) Fans racial, sectarian, parochial, regional or class hatred;
7 (vii) Promotes social inequality, militates against concepts of
human dignity and dignity of labour.
8 (viii) Is directed against sanctity or home, family and marriage.
9 (ix) Is wholly or mainly of a religious or political nature;
10 (x) contains references that are likely to lead the public to infer that
the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special
property or quality which is incapable of being established;
11 (xi) contains indecent, vulgar, or offensive themes or treatment; or

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12 (xii) contains material which is repugnant to ideology of Pakistan
or Islamic values.

(3) The goods or services advertised shall not suffer from any defects which are
harmful to human health. Misleading claims about the goods shall not be made.

(4) No advertisement which is likely to be seen by children in large numbers should


urge children directly to purchase goods of a particular brand or ask their parents to
do so.

(5) All advertisements must be clearly distinguishable as such and be separate from the
programmes and should not in any manner take the form of news or documentary.

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CONCLUSIVELY THE MAIN PURPOSE FOR THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF PEMRA

• The function and role of PEMRA is very important for a society they
should provide the general public with the knowledge of Islam through
informative programmes

• Educate the people as well as able to remove all the misconceptions


regarding Islam

• Promote religious sectarian harmony among public by showing


programmes and by calling Renowned Religious Scholars for educating the
public

• Play an important role in character building of the public

• Transmit true Islamic values among the public related to religion


• To create a positive image of Islam in the western world that Islam means
Peace and Muslims are not terrorists.