Ranked 142 in press freedom, Pakistan issues 'censorship' advisory

Media regulatory body PEMRA publishes advice following TV viewers “expressing loath and disapproval.”

June 15, 2019 09:37
1 minute read.
Nawaz Sharif

MAN in Pakistan reads a newspaper with news about the disqualification of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court... (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Pakistan’s media regulatory body, PEMRA has issued an advisory warning against airing satirical content.

In a release currently ‘doing the rounds’ on social media, the regulatory body requests Pakistani media “refrain from airing any content which is demeaning, creates hatred towards any individual or mocks any personality associated with any political party or law enforcement agency.”

The authority says in the release it is issuing the advice against satire and mockery in response to TV viewers “expressing loath and disapproval” towards such content.

The document has been widely (and somewhat ironically) mocked by users on Twitter who say the document is attacking free speech and accuse the authority and government of controlling the media and censorship.

Pakistan was ranked 142nd out of 180 countries on the 2019 world press freedom index. The index describes PEMRA as a government “censorship” tool and describes the media in Pakistan as “under the military establishment’s thumb.”

Israel is ranked 88th on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, which describes the freedom as “rare in the Middle East.”

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