The electronic media watchdog, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned media coverage of the Faizabad operation that is currently underway in the capital and most major news channels have been taken off air in this regard.
According to a circular issued by PEMRA on Saturday, “live coverage of any security operation is prohibited, therefore all Satellite TV channels licenses are directed to exhibit utmost sensitivity over the matter and comply with Clause 8(8) of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015, in letter and spirit and refrain from live coverage of the ongoing operation at Faizabad, Islamabad.”
The circular further states that “media houses are also requested to ensure safety and security of their field staff. In this regard, camera crews and reporters should not go beyond the point as identified by the Incharge of the operation and ensure cooperation with law enforcement agencies. In case of any kind of violation observed/reported, strict action under the relevant provisions of the PEMRA laws shall be initiated.”
MEDIA COVERAGE OF SIT-IN AT FAIZ-E-ABAD, ISLAMABAD pic.twitter.com/YqEGTWpFIR
— Report PEMRA (@reportpemra) November 25, 2017
Section 27 of the PEMRA Act “prohibits broadcasting or re-broadcasting any programme which is likely to create hatred amongst the people or prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace”.
Clause 3 of the Electronic Media Code of Conduct adds, “the licensee shall ensure that no content is aired which is likely to incite, aid, abet, glamorise or justify violence, commission of any crime, terror or leads to serious public disorder besides being known to false and defamatory.”
Roughly 8,500 elite police and paramilitary troops in riot gear began clearing the 2,000 or so demonstrators that have occupied the Faizabad interchange for over two weeks, soon after dawn.
The sit-in by the Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan has blocked the main highway used by thousands of commuters since November 6, causing hours-long traffic snarls and enraging commuters.
The protesters are demanding that Law Minister Zahid Hamid should resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.