By Raza Ruman
(Pak Destiny) Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has impose a fine of Rs1 million on each 29 national private TV channel and Rs 500,000 on each regional TV channel which had aired fake news of a bomb blast in Gulberg, Lahore on February 23.
The PEMRA was expected to take punitive action against these private TV channels but it ended up mere fine Rs1m which will in no way serve a deterrent for these unbridled horses in the future.
The national news and current affairs channels which aired fake news of bomb blast in Gulberg, Lahore are namely Samaa TV, Dawn News, Channel-5, 7 News, Din News, Capital TV, BOL News, News One, AbbTakk, Roze TV, K-21, Jaag TV, Waqt TV, Channel-92, Express News, Sach TV, Channel-24, Lahore News, Metro One, Geo News, Duniya TV, ARY News, NEO TV and Koh-e-Noor. The regional news and current affairs channels which aired fake news are namely KTN News, Sindh TV News, Khyber News, Awaz TV and Mehran TV.
The PEMRA took this decsion in its 126th meeting on Friday.
The PEMRA said the authority unanimously decided to impose a fine of Rs 1 million on each national private TV channel and Rs 500,000 on each regional TV channel which had aired fake news of a bomb blast in Gulberg, Lahore on February 23, 2017. The Authority also directed the management of all 29 TV channels to air apology on their screens on 6th March 2017 at 6:00pm in the same manner and magnitude as the fake news was aired. Besides tickers/scroll pertaining to apology shall also be aired from 6:00pm to 7:00pm during the regular transmission of the Channel. The text of the apology is also given to these TV channels for compliance.
The Authority members expressed their determination on taking strict action against any unprofessional practice by the TV channels. The Authority also asked the Ministry of Information and broadcasting to look into the complaints against PTV on airing of fake news. PEMRA had received a number of complaints against PTV but PTV does not come under PEMRA.
PEMRA had issued show cause notices to these TV channels and also gave an op-portunity of hearing and directed them to explain why they had aired the unverified news causing panic among people. On March 2, 2017, the TV channels submitted their reply. During the personal hearing, majority of the representatives from TV channels admitted that they had simply picked the story from other channels. The Authority meeting was presided over by PEMRA Chairman, Mr. AbsarAlam and at-tended by FBR Chairman, Dr Muhammad Irshad, Member KP, Ms. ShaheenHabibul-lah, Member Punjab, Ms. Nargis Nasir and senior officials of PEMRA.
Interestingly two popular websites – Dawn.com and Tribune.pk – did not carry this news of PEMRA because their because their channels – DawnNews and ExpressNews – have been penalised for running the fake news of Gulberg blast. – Pak Destiny