PEMRA Issues Notice Against News Coverage of Torrential Rains in Islamabad

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a notice stating that instead of relying on video footage circulated on social media, news channels covering torrential rains and flooding in Islambad should mobilise their own teams to provide real time footage to viewers.


According to PEMRA, these videos create “unnecessary panic and fear” for inhabitants of the city and their loved ones abroad.

Journalist Muhammad Ziauddin said that channels must play verified and authentic videos, but if PEMRA thinks that these videos are not geniune it can take action, provided the regulator can prove that these videos are based on disinformation and are out of context. If a video is genuine and authentic, it must go on air, he added.

Notably, there is no regulation or rule that mandates channels to air live footage sourced by their own field teams.

PEMRA, calling the coverage of urban flooding in Islamabad hoax reporting, said “most of the videos shown on TV channels were obtained from social media, recorded by mobile phones during the heavy rain spell in the capital. Factually, the moment rain stopped, all the stagnant rain water on roads or elsewhere was drained.”

The notice further said that the roads that appeared to be flooded with water in the social media videos were actually being used for commuting by residents.

PEMRA said that viewers were concerned that the coverage of the rains was in an “unprofessional manner,” and that viewers wanted news channels to air “authentic news.”

Romessa Nadeem is a Project Coordinator at Media Matters for Democracy, which runs the Digital Rights Monitor.

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