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Pemra warns TV channels against ‘exploiting children’

Pemra warns TV channels against ‘exploiting children’

ISLAMABAD: Expressing concern over an alarming witnessed trend among private TV channels, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued advice to all licence holders, reminding them not to broadcast programmes that denigrated children in any way.

In a letter sent to the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) on Thursday, Pemra noted that “it has been observed with grave concern that... morning shows [are being aired] in collaboration with some NGOs, whereby they exhibit the exchange of children of poor families among the rich couples in lieu of money.”

“The advice has been issued after it was noticed that some talk shows, especially morning shows, were displaying poor children as commodities and asking the rich people present on the show to come forward and help them,” a Pemra spokesperson told Dawn.

He added that most of the children were either street children or orphans, who were brought to the show with the help of certain NGOs, while others belonged to poor families.

“No programme or advertisement shall be aired which is against cultural values, morality and good manners,” the advice concluded, warning broadcasters that failure to comply with this directive could result in the suspension or revocation of their licence under Section 30 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002.

“The authority feels that if any channel or individual wants to do philanthropic work, they should not try and take advantage of it, or should conduct the same service off-air, or maybe just feature the philanthropic individuals to showcase the welfare work they do for poor children,” the spokesperson said.

Separately, the authority’s legal department is expected to issue notices to former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza, Dr Shahid Masood and the latter’s TV channel for broadcasting a talk show where Mr Mirza disrespected the judiciary and used derogatory and abusive language.

This will be the second such notice issued by Pemra this month. Earlier, on May,1, the authority issued show cause notices to 14 channels for airing the unedited speech of MQM chief Altaf Hussain where he had allegedly derided the army and accused it of being biased against his party in the context of the ongoing Karachi operation.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2015

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