–‘What Islam or Quran does PEMRA follow in which showbiz and interaction between na-mehrams is allowed?’ Zaka asks
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday upheld an order by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to suspend Waqar Zaka’s show Champions on Bol Entertainment.
Back in January, PEMRA had banned the show under Section 27 of Pemra’s 2002 ordinance and imposed a fine of Rs1 million.
According to the media regulatory authority, the show was airing vulgar and indecent content which was against the country’s social and cultural norms.
Champions aired last year in November and was a reality show about Pakistan’s youth. Episodes of the show are available on YouTube and the channel’s website.
According to the Bol website, the show is about a group of people living in a controlled Big Brother like environment but they get to travel to different places and participate in tasks and challenges for a whole minute.
“Candidates are selected through auditions carried out by Zaka who judges potential contestants through unconventional means.”
Talking to a private news channel, Zaka said his show was banned after a girl said on the show that she consumes alcohol while another girl had kissed him on the cheek (the scene was blurred).
“What Islam or Quran does PEMRA follow in which showbiz and interaction between na-mehrams is allowed?” Zaka asked. He gave more examples of “un-Islamic” content being shown on television, such as fashion and dance shows.
He identified drama serial Mere Pass Tum Ho‘s content too.
“I am not saying why aren’t you catching others after I’ve broken a signal, I’m just saying the signal has not been installed so why are you catching us in the first place,” he said.
He said that PEMRA’s argument of banning the show on a religious basis is invalid as showing romance on television is also “un-religious”.
PEMRA could have said the public has complained, Zaka said, but added that the show was trending on number 1 so the public did not have a problem.
By this logic, Zaka said his show Living on the Edge should also have been banned in 2006, 2007 and 2008. “More vulgar content had gone on air,” he said.
He said television channel ARY contributed to the ban. “How did the ban come after so long? It is because ARY feared there would be a second season,” said Zaka, adding that the ban was because ARY planned it and filed a complaint.
He said Mere Pass Tum Ho wasn’t banned despite several complaints against it because a channel never took up the issue or used its resources.
Zaka said just the finale of the show was left and since there is no ban on YouTube, it will be uploaded there after the coronavirus pandemic ends.