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LHC Blocks PEMRA Action Against Anchors Till Further Orders

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The Lahore High Court has stopped Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) from taking any ‘adverse action’ against anchors who went against a recent order issued by the media watchdog which barred television anchors from appearing as ‘experts’ on their talk shows and those of other TV channels.

Against PEMRA’s notification, 11 television anchors filed a petition stating that the order violated Article 19 of the constitution which granted every citizen the right to free speech.

Moreover, the petition also said that the order contradicted Article 9 of the constitution, which stated that no person could be deprived of life or liberty.

The petitioners urged the court to suspend the regulatory body’s notification until a final verdict was issued in the case.

During today’s hearing, PEMRA’s counsel said that it had issued a clarification in this regard and added that the regulatory body has already issued a clarification on the matter.

He further said that the Lahore High Court did not have the jurisdiction to preside over the case as it could only be heard by the Islamabad High Court.

The LHC accepted the petition for hearing and ordered PEMRA and the information ministry to submit their written response while the hearing was adjourned indefinitely.

PEMRA had received widespread criticism from government officials, even members of the federal cabinet over the notification.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Science and Technology and former finance minister Asad Umar were among the senior party leaders who criticised the order.

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