PEMRA Sends Notice To ARY News For Allegedly Airing ‘Fake News’

June 20, 2022 – The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued a show-cause notice to ARY News, one of the country’s leading news channels, for what the regulator says was “fake and frivolous news” aired against Federal Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail.

According to the notification shared by Miftah on Twitter, ARY News, attributing it to a source, carried a report claiming that the minister spent Rs4.8 million from the national exchequer for the renovation of his house in the enclave housing the residences of ministers in Islamabad. Miftah rejected the reports on Twitter, saying that he had indeed been allotted a residence in the Ministers’ Enclave but he has neither spent any public money on the house for its renovation nor does he have any plans of settling there.

Source: PEMRA (Twitter)

On Sunday, June 19, Miftah shared a copy of the notice that PEMRA issued to ARY News. The regulator termed the report regarding the finance minister “unprofessional and against the journalistic ethics with a clear intention to spread malice against government functionaries”. The notification further added that airing the report in question “severely damaged” Miftah’s reputation and violated the PEMRA Code of Conduct, 2015, and various directives and orders of the courts.

PEMRA has scheduled a hearing for June 24, directing the licensee to appear in person or through a representative. In case of non-compliance, PEMRA states that it will initiate action against the channel under Sections 29, 30, and 33 of PEMRA Ordinance 2022 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act, 2007. 

In May, PEMRA warned TV channels to refrain from airing “malicious” content against state institutions. The regulator directed TV channels to avoid airing “malicious” content against the Pakistan Army and judiciary while telecasting talk shows, news bulletins or live coverage of public gatherings. PEMRA stated that licensees were repeatedly urged to abide by the rules set by the regulatory authority and follow court orders to refrain from airing slanderous content as it will be deemed as “propaganda”.

It added that TV channels were also directed to ensure installation of an effective delay mechanism in their transmission, especially while covering public gatherings and rallies. PEMRA warned that in case of violations, the authority will bar transmission under Section 27 (Prohibition of broadcast media or distribution service operation) of the PEMRA (Amendment) Act, 2007 without any notice and impose a fine of Rs1 million under Section 29. The authority may also suspend or cancel the licence under Section 30 of the act. 


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