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Notice to Pakistani channel over remarks against PM

Islamabad: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has issued a show cause notice to ARY News channel over comments on a statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The regulator on Friday took exception to remarks made by Shahid Latif, a guest on an ARY News programme, that termed a recent statement by Sharif blasphemous, Dawn online reported.

Shahid Latif made the remarks during ‘The Reporters’ programme which aired on Thursday.

“This is a very dangerous trend. The hosts of the programme did not intervene nor stopped him from passing such comments, which is a violation of Pemra rules,” a Pemra statement said.

According to the statement, airing any offensive, provocative or derogatory remarks violate PEMRA Act 2007 and various sections and clauses of the PEMRA Code of Conduct 2015.

The ARY News was directed to submit its reply by March 31 and explain why action should not be taken against it for airing “hate speech”.

Pemra said if the channel was found guilty, the regulator could ban ‘The Reporters’, cancel ARY’s operating licence and impose Rs 1 million fine.

Pemra also issued show cause notices to nine TV channels — Ab Tak TV, Waqt TV, Channel 5, Sach TV, 7 News, Aaj TV, Roze TV, News One and Capital TV — for airing “fake news” of a plane crash near Rawalpindi.

The channels have been directed to submit a reply by March 31.

The penalty for airing fake news includes a fine of up to Rs 1 million and cancellation of the operating licence.

The Pemra also issued a show cause notice to Dawn News for not complying with its orders of suspending ‘Zara Hat Kay’ for three days.

The presenters of ‘Zara Hut Kay’ discussed a reference against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), which is pending before the Supreme Judicial Council, in an episode aired on March 9.

According to a Dawn News official, the channel had already obtained a stay order from the Sindh High Court against the notice.