Media Laws and ethics:
Media law is defined as “a field that is related to the legal rules and regulations of the Telecommunication Corporation, information technology, news broadcasting, advertisement industry, entertainment industry, censorship and internet-related things”
History of Media Laws in Pakistan:
The brief history of media laws of Pakistan can be summarized as:
- The first step to implement media law was taken in the era of Ayub Khan who formulated the Press and Publication Ordinance (PPO). This law allowed the authorities to hijack the newspapers, close down the news givers, and to arrest different journalists. Using these laws nationalized the press and took over some news providing agencies.
- In the era of General Zia ul Haq in 1980s, according to of the new amendments, the publisher of the news will be accountable if the news will not be liked by the administration even if the news was carrying facts and is in the national interests.
- In 2002, in the era of General Pervaiz Musharraf, media faced concluded development that resulted in the rise of electronic media in Pakistan. New media which was liberal cleaned out the possession on electronic media. Licenses to own private channels were issued.
Ordinances to Apply Media Laws:
- PEMRA rules 2009.
- PEMRA ordinance 2002.
- Freedom of information ordinance 2002.
- Defamation Ordinance 2002.
- Press council of Pakistan ordinance 2002.
- Press, newspapers, news agencies and book registration ordinance 2002.
Regulations to Apply Media Laws:
- Television broadcast station operation regulations 2012.
- Radio broadcast station operation regulations 2012.
- Distribution service operation regulations 2011.
- PEMRA regulations 2018.
Code of Conducts to Apply Media Laws:
- Code of conduct rules 2010.
- Code of conduct for media/ TV cable operators.
Acts to Apply Media Laws:
- Pakistan broadcasting corporation Act 1973.
Role of PEMRA:
- PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority) is an independent institution which is responsible for issuing a license to channels and making electronic media stations.
- PEMRA is independent of all kind of influence from government.
- Censorship rules are applied only on private channels.
- PEMRA is involved in media censorship and broadcast of the content from different media outlets. PEMRA is responsible for the material or content which is broadcasting from the channel is if there is something in the content which is violating the rules of censorship PEMRA fines that channel and can cancel their license.
PEMRA ordinance 2002:
- The main aim of the ordinances is to provide good content of higher standards to the audience. It is important to following these ordinances to provide quality information, education and entertainment to the audience.
- This ordinance was the creator of the organization named as PEMRA.
- It is responsible to keep an eye on media authorities and to make them accountable and ensure their transparency inflow of information.
Structure of PEMRA:
- It consists of 13 members including the chairman, government officials, secretaries and chairman PTA.
- The chairman of PEMRA is appointed by the president.
- Majority of people working in PEMRA are from the government.
- PEMRA does not depend on the government for finance.
- Federal secretaries of interior and information are part of PEMRA.
Provision of Ethics:
Protection of the local media industry:
Before giving license to the channel PEMRA should assure that the channel will not show more than 10% of the foreign content. Moreover, it should assure that the channel will not do a violation of copyrights.
No content should be on aired containing false remarks about any religion and does not hurt the sentiments of any religious community. No content should be aired containing discrimination, bitterness and dissension.
Any content which is against the social values of any group should not be broadcasted on channel. Content should not show anybody inferior and does not make them feel that anybody is inferior. Things like smoking and drinking alcohol should not be promoted. Alcohols and other harmful beverages should not be shown. Content should not be in the context of exposing any group or class like their caste, colour, language and mental or physical disability.
Coverage of incidents:
The coverage of incidents containing violence should not be shown in a way to promote violence. The written warning should be given before showing such incidents.Killing someone or things like that should not be shown clearly. Identification of any kind of victim should not be revealed without having written permission from families.
Personal information of any person can only be broadcasted after the written permission of that very person.
Content having horror things or supernatural behaviors should not be shown. Showing children as a burden should be prohibited. Physical and emotional abuses of children should not be shown. The dignity of anyone should not be compromised.
Abusive language should be strictly prohibited in wither dramas and talk shows. Any language should not be considered as superior or inferior.
News on-air should be correct and does not contain any false news. The news should be according to prepared and edited by the editorial board of the channel.
Live shows should only be telecasted if it is prepared under the terms and conditions of the license. An effective delay should be applied to keep a check and for editorial purpose.
Advertisements should not promote any kind of valance and does not promote false habits like smoking and drinking. So these kinds of advertisements should not be promoted.