[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part-II, 10th October, 2012].

S.R.O. 1265(I)/2012, dated 25.9.2012.—WHEREAS based on the public feedback it is felt expedient to devise guidelines for the electronic media for the improvement of working of electronic media.

WHEREAS after detailed deliberations in the Joint Meeting of Chairpersons, Members of the Councils of Complaints from across the country and Authority Members, the Joint Meeting while expressing its strong belief in the freedom of expression discussed and prepared a draft to enhance the reputation of the electronic journalism in Pakistan.

WHEREAS the Authority has time and again expressed its commitment towards promoting self-regulation by the licensees while encouraging the licensees to ensure proper editorial control and policy of gate-keeping along with arrangement for the training of workers of the electronic media.


WHEREAS the draft regulations prepared by the Joint Meeting of Chairpersons. Members of the Councils of Complaints and Authority Members was circulated among the stakeholders as well as uploaded on PEMRA website for consultation and comments of the stakeholders and the general public.

WHERRAS the draft regulations were revised in view of the response received from the stakeholders and the general public and to ensure that freedom of expression is protected as enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and growth of free, fair and responsible electronic media in the country is promoted.

WHEREAS under Article 37(g) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan read with Section 20 of the Ordinance, the licensees are required to ensure that all programmes and advertisements do not contain or encourage violence, terrorism, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, sectarianism, extremism, militancy, hatred, pornography, obscenity, vulgarity or other material offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency.

NOW THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (3) of Section 4 read with Sections 19, 20 and all other enabling provisions of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority is pleased to make the following Regulations:

1.  Short title and commencement.—(1) These regulations shall be called Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Content) Regulations 2012.

(2)  They shall come into force at once.

2.       Definitions.—(1) Terms and expressions used in these regulations shall have, unless it appears repugnant to the context or provided otherwise, following meaning:-

(a)     "advertisement" means a set of visual and audio messages for the projection of a product, service, or idea with the object of propagating sale, purchase or hire of the product, service or idea for creating other related effects;

(b)     "Authority" means the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) established under Section 3 of the Ordinance;

(c)     "Council" means the Council of Complaints established under the Ordinance;

(d)     "content" includes programmes and advertisements;

(e)     "current affairs programme" means the programme that contains explanation and analysis of current events and issues, including material dealing with political or industrial controversy or with current public policy;

(f)      "footage" means the raw, unedited material as it had been originally filmed by any video recording device;

(g)     "foreign content" means the content that is produced under the direct or indirect creative control of foreigners, foreign companies or foreign broadcasters;

(h)     "indecent" includes whatsoever may amount to any incentive, sensuality and excitement of impure thoughts in the mind of an ordinary man of normal temperament and has the tendency to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influence, and which is deemed to be detrimental to public morals and calculated to produce pernicious effect, in depraving and debauching the minds of persons;

(i)      "licence" means a licence issued by the Authority to establish and operate a broadcast media or distribution service;

(j)      "licensee" means a person to whom the Authority has issued a licence;

(k)     "Ordinance" means the Pakistan electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 as amended from time to time;

(l)      "programme" means the systematic broadcasting of visual or sound images by a broadcast station but does not include an advertisement;

(m)    "propaganda" means a systematic dissemination of any doctrine, rumour or selective information to promote one sided views on any controversial issue;

(n)     "proscribed organization" means proscribed organization as defined under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997;

(o)     "regulations" means the regulations made under the Ordinance;

(p)     "rules" means the rules made under the Ordinance;

(q)     "sectarian" means pertaining to, devoted to, peculiar to, or one which promotes the interest of a religious sect or sects in a bigoted or prejudicial manner;

(r)      "smoking" means smoking of tobacco in any form whether in the form of cigarettes, cigar or otherwise with the aid of a pipe, wrapper or any other instrument.

(s)      "terrorism" means terrorism as defined under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997;

(t)      "terrorist" means terrorist as defined under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997;

(2)  Words and phrases used but not defined in these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires, shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Ordinance, and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

3.       Local media industry protection.—(1) Except in case of landing rights permission holder, licensee shall ensure that the foreign content aired in a calendar day does not exceed a maximum often percent of the whole content.

(2)  Licensee shall ensure that no programme is aired in violation of the intellectual property rights.

4.       Religious and ethnic harmony.—No content shall be aired that contains derogatory remarks about any religion or sect or community or uses visuals or words contemptuous of religious sects and ethnic groups or which promotes communal or sectarian hatred or disharmony.

5.       Ethical and social values.—(1) Licensee shall show deference to the ethical and social values of the country and ensure that:-

(a)     any content that maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country is not broadcast or distributed;

(b)     content does not make careless references to any class or group of persons as being inherently inferior or in any way discriminate against any section of the community on account of religion, gender, age, disability or occupational status.

(c)     content is not obscene or indecent;

          Explanation: For the purposes of these regulations content shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

(d)     offensive or derogatory jokes, words, gestures, dialogues and subtitles are not broadcast or distributed;

(e)     behaviour such as smoking and drug abuse is not presented as glamorous or desirable;

(f)      alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or any other narcotics shall not be shown;

(g)     content does not contain anything that denigrates men or women through the depiction in any manner of the figure, in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory;

(h)     content does not contain any abusive comment;

(i)      content does not contain anything that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race or caste, national, ethnic or linguistic origin, colour or religion or sect, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability;

(j)      no content is aired that is offensive, indecent, vulgar or defamatory;

6.  Coverage of incidents of accidents, violence and crime.—(1) Coverage of incidents of violence and crime shall not incite, glamorize or in any way promote violence or anti-social behaviour.

(2)     Appropriate, warning shall be given upfront for content which may be potentially disturbing or upsetting so as to enable viewers to make an informed choice.

(3)     Scenes with excessive violence or suffering such as close-up shots of persons being brutally tortured and killed shall not be shown.

(4)     It shall be ensured that reporting of incidents of crime, accident, natural disaster or violence does not create hurdles in dispensation of the duties of rescue agencies, hospitals and doctors.

(5)     Extreme caution shall be exercised in handling themes, plots or scenes that depict sex and violence, including rape and other sexual assaults.

(6)     Identity of any victim of rape, sexual abuse, terrorism or kidnapping or such victim's family shall not be revealed without prior written permission of the victim or victim's guardian where victim is a minor:

Provided that during any ongoing rescue or security operation, identity and number of victims shall not be revealed unless the same is warranted by the rescue or security agency in-charge of the operation.

(7)     Content shall not glamorise or in any way promote persons groups or organizations who use or advocate the use of violence or engage in any criminal activity within Pakistan and licensee shall ensure that all proscribed organisations, militant groups or individuals who are notified by the Government as terrorists shall clearly be so identified and statements of such militant groups or individuals shall not be aired.

(8)     Licensee shall ensure that there is no live coverage which discloses the tactical measures adopted by law enforcement agencies against terrorists during ongoing security operations.

(9)     The licensee shall not air head money or bounty other than announced by the competent Court or the Government agency of Pakistan.

(10)   A licensee shall not broadcast video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of proscribed organizations, militants and extremist elements and any other act which may, in any way, promote aid or abet terrorist or terrorism.

7.  Privacy and personal data protection.—(1) Licensee shall avoid any infringement of privacy in programmes and in connection with obtaining material included in programmes unless the same is warranted by an identifiable public interest.

Explanation: For the purposes of these regulations warranted means that where licensees wish to justify an infringement of privacy as warranted they should be able to demonstrate why in the particular circumstances of the case it is warranted. If the reason is that it is in the public interest then the licensee should be able to demonstrate that the public interest outweighs the right to privacy.

(2)     Licensee shall not obtain or seek information, audio, pictures or any agreement through misrepresentation or deception unless the same is warranted by identifiable public interest.

(3)     Door stepping for factual programmes should not take place unless a request for an interview has been refused and door stepping is warranted by identifiable public interest.

Explanation: For the purposes of these regulations door stepping is the filming or recording of an interview or attempted interview with someone, or announcing that a call is being filmed or recorded for broadcast purposes, without any prior warning.

(4)     Information which discloses location of a person's home or family shall not be revealed without permission unless there is an identifiable public interest.

(5)     Licensee shall ensure that words, images or actions filmed or recorded in, or broadcast from, a public place, are not so private that prior consent is required before broadcast from the individual or organization concerned unless broadcasting without their consent is warranted by identifiable public interest.

8.       Programming for children.—(1) Programmes and advertisements meant for children shall not:–

(a)     be presented in a manner which may be disturbing or distressing to children or which may in any way adversely affect their general well being;

(b)     be frightening, or contain violence:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Case Law