ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has asked all news channels inviting retired army officers in current affairs talk shows as ‘defence analysts’ to either seek clearance from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army’s media wing, or call them only ‘analysts’.
In a ‘confidential’ letter to all TV channels dated April 4, the media watchdog said, “Retired military officers may only be invited as defence analyst for discussion on military matters with prior clearance from ISPR.”
The PEMRA has directed TV channels to follow the said procedure before retired army officers’ “their first appearance” as defence analyst. “If invited in talk shows for discussion other than security matters should be titled as ‘Analyst’ only… procedure for clearance may be processed with ISPR as defence analyst,” the statement added.
In its reasoning, the authority said retired military officers are “usually not fully conversant/abreast with the latest defence and security developments due to their service background and post-retirement time.”
“Moreover, the discussion mostly switches from security matters to politics which inadvertently embroils military officers into political debate which is felt undesirable,” it added.
The media watchdog has further desired “strict compliance” from all news and current affairs TV channels.