With Ramazan right around the corner, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a statement to TV channels on Thursday asking them to follow a set of guidelines for all Ramazan transmissions.
The statement, released in three parts on Twitter for Ramazan transmissions, TV shows and dramas, asks TV channels to be mindful and respectful when airing content during the holy month, while also keeping in mind sentiments of the audience.
The statements reads, TV channels should be wary of the subject matter aired, sensitive issues like sectarian differences and violence should be avoided. And in cases where audience sentiments have been hurt, immediate action should be taken upon viewer complaints.
In what might be a reference to Amir Liaquat's ramazan show in which he gave away orphaned babies to couples in the audience, the Pemra notice mentions that no orphaned children are to be handed away to audience members on any TV show.
Dancing, singing and exercising have been prohibited as is the tossing of presents to audiences. TV channels have been requested to ensure that the content be as such that there is a difference between regular transmissions and Ramazan transmissions.
Morning shows cannot speak against Pakistan, the law or the armed forces, nor instigate talks which speak ill of the country.
Speaking on Ramazan transmission specifically, Pemra has asked for the following: 1) Shows to be scripted as opposed to impromptu scripts for ratings, 2) No vulgar language, topic or subject matter should be discussed, 3) People who lack knowledge of religion should not be asked to appear as guests on shows preaching to the public, 4) Dress code should be taken into regard and, 5) Non-Ramazan transmissions will air after 9pm.
For dramas airing during the month of Ramazan, TV channels must ensure that; 1) The content does not insult any individual's dignity or profession, 2) Black magic is not promoted, 3) Dress code should be taken into regard, 3) No bedroom scenes, kissing or hugging between the opposite sex, 4) No scenes showing drug or alcohol consumption, 5) Family matters should not be shown in a negative light and, 6) Matters pertaining to divorce should be treated sensitively.
Morning shows have been asked; 1) To only invite guests with expertise on topics of discussion, 2) Not to highlight family problems on TV, for example between husband and wife or wife and in-laws, 3) Not to prompt guests or audience members to dance or sing, 4) Not to utter vulgar statements, 5) To be mindful of attire, 6) Not to belittle or show any individual in a negative light and, 7) To invite scholars and knowledgeable persons as guests as a learning experience for children.
The statement concluded saying, Pemra will take strict action against any persons or channel found in violation of these guidelines.