The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued a show-cause notice to private TV channel News One over ‘derogatory/demeaning’ remarks made about Minister of Communications Murad Saeed during anchor Gharida Faruqi’s show.
Following the notice from PEMRA, reports indicate that the news channel is being shut down across the country.
Spokesperson of the Sindh Government Murtaza Wahab visited the News One offices on Saturday to ‘express solidarity with the channel management and media workers.’
In a statement posted on Twitter, Wahab said, “[Pakistan People’s Party] PPP believes in freedom of expression [and] will stand against any act of stifling this important fundamental right by the [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] PTI [government].”
On Thursday, Saeed was commended by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the performance of the Ministry of Communication, which ranked first among the top 10 best performing federal ministries in the country.
Remarking to Murad’s award later that night, a guest on the show G for Gharidah, journalist Mohsin Baig insinuated that the ‘real reason’ Saeed ranked in first place was “written in Reham Khan’s book.” Guests on the show jumped in to agree.
After it was published in 2018, ex-wife to the prime minister Reham Khan’s memoir was condemned by members of the government as patently false, with members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) filing a defamation case against Reham Khan for ‘defamatory and malicious falsehoods’ perpetuated in the book.
As reported by Dawn, PEMRA noted the ‘unprofessional/demeaning’ remarks were aired without editorial control or time delay mechanisms in place, raising “serious concerns on the performance of [News One] channel’s editorial policy and gatekeeping tools being adopted/practiced.”
PEMRA ordered a reply from the channel’s CEO within four days to avoid a fine, suspension or revocation of licensure.
“In case of non-compliance, ex-parte legal action shall be taken against the licensee in accordance with relevant provisions of PEMRA Laws,” the notice warned.