Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned the broadcast of anchorperson Kashif Abbasi’s talkshow for 60 days, two days after Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda’s outlandish boot stunt on the show.
The ban on the broadcast and rebroadcast of Abbasi’s show is effective from today.
On Tuesday night, Vawda appeared on Abbasi’s show alongside PPP Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi, during which he used a boot to heap scorn on the opposition parties for voting in favour of the recently passed Army Act in parliament.
The next day, as criticism poured in from opposition leaders as well as people on social media, Vawda said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was “not happy” over his action. While appearing in another talk show in the evening, he took the responsibility of the incident but made it clear to anchor that he would not apologise for bringing the boot to a live TV show.
According to the media regulatory body, during the programme under discussion, one of the panellists (Vawda) “performed [a] very unethical act” while starting his arguments on the subject being discussed.
“Subsequently, arguments made by Mr Vawda were not only extremely frivolous and derogatory but also an attempt to debase a state institution,” the notification dated Jan 15 read.
“Whereas, role of programme host Mr Kashif Abbasi was quite unprofessional who actually did not intervene or stopped (sic) that unethical act performed by one of the panellists during a live show rather took the entire incident casually and kept smiling/cherishing such occurrence,” it said, adding the media body was taking this action under Section 27(A) of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (amendment) act 2007.
Section 27(A) of the ordinance states: “Broadcasting or re-broadcasting or distributing any programme or advertisement if it is of the opinion that such particular programme or advertisement is against the ideology of Pakistan or is likely to create hatred among the people or is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity or endangers national security or is pornographic, obscene or vulgar or is offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency.”
Subsequently, the media regulatory body said that Abbasi’s appearance is also banned for the 60-day period. According to PEMRA, Abbasi cannot conduct his show, appear on his channel or any other television channel as a guest/analyst or expert.
PEMRA said the content aired during the live programme “appears to be a willful attempt to debase and demean a state institution by dragging it unnecessarily in a debate”.
“The act of the host is also in violation of clauses 3(l)(e,j), 4(7)(b), 4(10), 5, 13 and 17 of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015, read with Section 27(a) of Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007,” the notification stated.
As per the regulatory body, in case of non-compliance by the television channel, action can be taken under PEMRA laws “which may result in suspension/revocation of satellite TV channel conferred to M/s ARY Communication Pvt. Ltd. [ARY News]”.