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Pakistan Issues New Broadcast Guidelines

PEMRA releases 24-point guideline for on-air news coverage and commentary

Pakistan released The Electronic Media (Programs and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015, on Aug. 20 by Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which is effective immediately. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the 24-point guideline sets strict limits for on-air news coverage and commentary on TV and radio.

The CPJ reports that the guidelines set limits for live coverage of ongoing security operations like hostage standoffs and terrorist attacks. The Code of Conduct says broadcasters “shall air only such information as may be warranted by the security agency in charge of the operation.” Guidelines are also set for political discussion shows, restricting broadcasters from airing what PEMRA calls “hate speech” or denunciations of religious beliefs.

According to the CPJ, these guidelines, an update of a 2009 version, were created in consultation with the Pakistan Broadcasting Association over the last few months. However, members of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists claim that they were not included in discussions.