ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Mirza Saleem Baig on Saturday submitted his unconditional apology in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in connection with a contempt of court case.
The high court resumed the hearing of the contempt notice issued to the PEMRA chairman for using the court’s name without prior permission or context as means of persuasion to enforce strict guidelines on media houses and news anchors.
During the hearing, Mirza Saleem Baig submitted an unconditional apology from the high court and said that he could not even think of misusing court’s name and the notice was not issued to challenge the powers of the court. He prayed IHC for withdrawing show-cause notice over contempt of court issued on November 1.
The chairman also submitted a written reply in the court which stated that the authority had clarified its notification for not imposing restrictions on news anchors for joining other talks shows. The reply also stated it had been clarified that news anchors were not restricted to participate in marathon transmission.
On October 29, the high court being presided over by Justice Athar Minallah had issued a contempt of court notice to PEMRA chairman for using the court’s name without prior permission.
PEMRA had issued new directives to all TV channels regarding analyses, views and discussion on sub-judice matters which resulted in tremendous backlash from a large segment of society, media and prominent political entities.
PEMRA had barred television anchors from giving their opinions during talk shows and limited their role to be moderators.
“As per PEMRA code of conduct, the role of anchors is to moderate the programmes in an objective, unbiased and impartial manner, excluding themselves from the personal opinions, biases and judgments on any issue. Therefore, anchors hosting regular shows should not appear in TV shows whether own or other channels as subject matter experts,” it said in a statement on Sunday.
The court sought a report of PEMRA actions on such violations with a reprimand.