The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has prohibited TV channels from airing news reports on the recent F-9 Park rape incident for “revealing” the victim’s identity, according to a notification dated February 5, 2023.
The media regulator stated that some TV channels violated PEMRA’s Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015 by giving away the victim’s identity.
The case has attracted widespread media coverage and prompted a wave of protests and condemnation on social media. The incident came to light after an FIR was registered on February 2 at the Margalla police station stating that the complainant was beaten up and raped by two armed men at the F-9 Park in Islamabad.
“While exercising powers conferred under Section 27(a) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act, 2007, broadcast/rebroadcast of news/reports with regard to F-9 Islamabad incident is PROHIBITED with immediate effect,” said PEMRA.
The authority warned that in case of non-compliance, the channel’s licence may be suspended “without any show-cause notice in the public interest along with other enabling provisions of law”.
The notification has drawn ample criticism online, with a number of people questioning PEMRA’s decision to ban the coverage altogether instead of directing TV channels to protect the victim’s identity.