The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has imposed a Rs500,000 fine on Express Entertainment for the use of animals as props on Time Out with Ahsan Khan.
The petition was filed by lawyer Faizullah Khan Niazi on behalf of Santia Gulzar against the TV channel for its violations and animal abuse. Announcing the news on Twitter, Niazi said, "PEMRA saw fit to accept my arguments and impose a fine on Express Entertainment for using animals as props for the purposes of entertainment in its show Time Out with Ahsan Khan".
"The CoC [Council of Complaints] upheld the rights of animals and stopped unnecessary pain and suffering being caused to them," he wrote.
In its order, Pemra noted that the show's use of animals as props is a violation of its policies. It said that the animals were caused "unnecessary pain and suffering". "Subjugating animals to such uncalled for treatment is clearly prohibited under Article 4 and Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan," said the order.
In the show, Khan uses rabbits as props for a game. Asking his celebrity guests questions, he places the rabbit on their lap if they couldn't answer it, or answer it incorrectly. The contestant celebrities often yell at the rabbit, or they move away from it, causing it harm either way.
The fine is an encouraging decision, as Pakistani TV shows are notorious for being ruthless with animals on set. We are glad the national regulator is taking note of such violations and acknowledging that animals deserve to be protected.