Pakistan’s media watchdog prohibits
TV channels from covering terror attacks


The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday prohibited television news channels from covering terrorist attacks, Pakistan based The News International Newspaper reported.
The authority’s directives came after its earlier directives on the issue urging TV channels to adhere to the Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015. The authority in a notification said: “It has been observed with grave concern that despite repeated directives satellite TV channels are unable to comply with provisions of the Electronic Media Code of Conduct-2015 in letter and spirit.”
According to the regulatory body, news channels amid a terror attack, resort to marathon transmission ignoring basic journalistic norms and ethics only to “take lead” and “credit” for breaking the news first. It added that the channels violate journalistic ethics by “airing live images of the crime scene.” The PEMRA stated: “Satellite TV channels and their staff are found ambivalent of not only their security but also create hurdles in rescue and combat operations.”
Information shared on news channels in such a situation is “unverified, speculative without consulting security agencies present on the spot”, according to the electronic media watchdog. The authority’s notification said that such reporting creates chaos among domestic and overseas viewers.
It also mentioned that reporting such incidents gives benefits to terrorists for “using media as a form of political advertising” and serves their ideological purposes by “publicising their campaign”, The News International reported.
“Moreover, media coverage of such incidents also gives terrorists an organisational advantage by allowing a specific group to exhibit its strength and audaciousness in comparison with its rivals,” the watchdog stated.