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PEMRA Bans Telecast Of 2 Dramas Citing Content ‘Against Religious Values’

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The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has imposed a ban on repeat telecast of ARY drama serial Ishqia and Hum TV drama serial Pyar Ke Sadqay in line with Section 27 of the PEMRA Ordinance over violation of ‘religious values’.

According to the regulatory body, the decision was taken after it received complaints by viewers through Pakistan Citizens Portal and social media accounts that the dramas were propagating content that was against the social and religious values of the society.

Moreover, ARY Digital has been advised to review the content of its drama serial Jalan following many complaints from the viewers. The channel has been warned that if its content was not modified to conform with the social norms and values, action would be taken against the channel.

On Aug 28, PEMRA Chairperson Muhammad Saleem Baig directed for strict action to be taken in line with the law against immoral content and Indian channels. He had also reiterated the authority’s commitment to bringing the themes in Pakistani dramas that are in line with the country’s social, religious, cultural, and moral values.

On Aug 31, PEMRA suspended the licence of Channel 24 News with ‘immediate effect’ after the news channel aired ‘hate inciting content’ during a special Muharram transmission. In a press release issued on Sunday, the regulatory body had said it had issued an advisory to all television channels on Aug 20, directing them ‘not to air material that would harm inter-faith harmony or which was based on sectarianism and inciting hate’.

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In the recent past, PEMRA and its counterpart that regulates the internet, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, have stepped up efforts against the platforms that promote the content that goes against the so-called social mores of the Pakistani society.

Dating apps banned over ‘immoral content’:

Pakistan said on Tuesday blocked Tinder, Grindr, and three other dating apps for not adhering to local laws, its latest move to curb online platforms deemed to be disseminating ‘immoral content’.

PTA had sent notices to the management of the five apps, ‘keeping in view the negative effects of immoral/indecent content streaming’.

PTA had said the notices issued to Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout, and SayHi sought the removal of ‘dating services’ and moderation of live streaming content in accordance with local laws. The companies did not respond to the notices within the stipulated time, the regulator had added.

Data from analytics firm Sensor Tower shows Tinder has been downloaded more than 440,000 times in Pakistan within the last 12 months. Grindr, Tagged and SayHi had each been downloaded about 300,000 times and Skout 100,000 times in that same period, said Reuters.

Usama Khilji, director of BoloBhi, a Pakistani digital rights advocacy group, said blocking content deemed to offend decency and morality was a way of pressuring social media companies into complying with government requests for user data and censorship of content deemed critical of state policies.

Dating apps are a soft target,” he told Reuters.

On Wednesday, the PTA said it had asked video-sharing platform YouTube to immediately block certain content for viewing in Pakistan, for the second time in a week. YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc., was blocked in Pakistan for three years until 2016.

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Naya Daur