Pemra asks TV channels to apologise over Hamza, Talib controversy



ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Monday directed two televison channels to air an apology for airing “irresponsible” comments during their Ramazan transmission.

According to a notification issued by Pemra, Aaj TV and News One have assured that they will air a formal apology to “curtail the unrest caused by them”.

The notification states that after airing the apology, the ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi and Shabbir Abu Talib will be lifted and they will be able to take part in the TV program.

The decision was taken in the 33rd session of Pemra complaint council.

Pemra had earlier barred actor Hamza Ali Abbasi and TV show host Shabbir Abu Talib from hosting their Ramazan shows on Aaj TV and News One respectively.

In a statement issued last week, Pemra had stated that it had received 1,133 complaints through Whatsapp, Twitter and telephone calls regarding the transmissions.

The complainants said both shows had aired provocative content.

The regulatory body had asked Aaj TV and TV One to implement the decision by 7pm on June 17, 2016.

The Pemra notification further added if the hosts Hamza Ali Abbasi, Shabbir Abu Talib and religious preacher Maulana Kokab Noorani appear on any other channel and discuss the controversial issue or any other such topic, then that programme will also be banned.

The regulatory authority had notified the concerned individuals in this regard and had asked them to appear before the Complaints Council Karachi and record their statements on June 20, after which Pemra was to announce its decision.

‘Why is Ahmadi such a taboo word’

Hamza Abbasi, who co-hosted the post-Iftar transmission, ‘Ramzan Hamara Emaan’ with Aisha Khan for Aaj TV, revealed in an episode that he will be discussing the Ahmadi community and blasphemy laws at the end of the holy month on his show in more detail.

Talking to Dawn’s Images, Hamza claimed that his point of concern as a Muslim and a Pakistani is that if one can freely talk in the media about the plight of every other community in Pakistan, why can’t we talk about the suffering of Ahmadis.

“Why is Ahmadi such a taboo word? Ideological stances aside, my only goal is that when an Ahmadi is killed or persecuted, the media shouldn’t be scared to talk about it.” Hamza had said.