Soon after the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) prohibited the broadcast and re-broadcast of speeches and press conferences of former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on all satellite TV channels, the federal government on Saturday lifted the ban with immediate effect by implementing Section 5 of PEMRA Act.
The regulatory body, in a statement, had said that airing "hateful, slanderous, vilifying and unwarranted statements" against the country’s leadership and state institutions is in sheer violation of Article 19 of the Constitution.
It said that Imran Khan has made aspersions against the state institutions by levelling baseless allegations for orchestrating an assassination plan.
Read more: ISPR rejects Imran statement as "unacceptable, uncalled for"
"Contents of his speeches are being rebroadcast on various TV channels in their talk shows and news bulletins without any editorial oversight," it observed.
PEMRA said that airing of such content was likely to create hatred among the people or is prejudicial to maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity or endangers national security and it is a serious violation of Article 19 of the Constitution and Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as well as Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015.
It warned the licence of a TV channel can be suspended in case of violation without any show cause notice in the public interest along with other enabling provisions of law.
However, the government lifted the ban in less than an hour after PEMRA issued its statement to the media.
The federal government, applying Section 5 of the PEMRA Act, directed the regulatory body to immediately remove the ban on the speeches for former PM.
Section 5 of the PEMRA Act empowers the federal government to suspend the authority's powers in certain circumstances. The federal government can suspend PEMRA orders by exercising its powers.
Ban reversed on directions of PM: Marriyum
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb in a statement said that the directives for lifting the ban on Imran’s speeches were issued to Pemra by the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in accordance with the law which granted such powers to the federal government.
In a statement, she said the prime minister issued these directives to Pemra by invoking Section 5. Marriyum said that PM Shehbaz had also directed the authority to ensure full compliance of the Article 19 of the Constitution.
The minister said that the premier had set a new tradition by bringing an end to the bitter traditions of Imran Khan’s era.
“We do not believe in what has been done by Imran Khan with Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and other political leaders during his four year rule,” she remarked.
The minister said that the federal government, led by Shehbaz Sharif, fully believed in democratic norms and constitutional right of freedoms of expression.
She said that it was Imran Khan who imposed restrictions on his political opponents, leaders, activists and media.
The minister said that Imran Khan's speeches against the coalition government should reach to the public so they could know the reality of “fitna”.
Imran Khan's supporters, she said, would have to understand the reality of this “fitna” and his mischief and lies.
She said the current government believed in democratic norms and values, but ironically Imran Khan had a fascist mindset.