A prohibition on live broadcasting of events inside the Islamabad Court Complex has been imposed by Pakistan's media watchdog
In a corruption lawsuit against the former prime minister Imran Khan, Pakistan's electronic media authority on Saturday forbade satellite television networks from airing live footage of events outside the Islamabad court.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has filed a complaint against Khan, the 70-year-old leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, for allegedly failing to disclose information about gifts in his asset declarations. Khan is scheduled to appear before ADSJ Zafar Iqbal's court to participate in the proceedings.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) said in an advisory released on Saturday that it has been noted with worry that satellite TV stations are presenting live video and photographs of a violent crowd as well as assaults on police and law enforcement officials.
"During a recent confrontation between political party supporters and law enforcement agencies in Lahore, when a violent crowd used petrol bombs to injure unarmed cops and set police cars on fire, such footage/images were shown on TV screens without any editorial control. Such video was broadcast live on many satellite TV stations, which led to confusion and fear among the public and the police." According to the Pemra letter, such mob action puts lives and public property at risk in addition to endangering law and order.
According to the media watchdog, the broadcasting of such material is against a ruling by the Pakistani Supreme Court.
Pemra said in a statement that it had "observed with concern" that satellite TV channels were "showing live footages (sic) / images of a violent mob, attacks on police and law enforcing agencies," in reference to the altercations between PTI employees and law enforcement officers outside Khan's Zaman Park residence.
According to Pemra's directive, it is unlawful for any party, organisation, or person to broadcast live or recorded footage of any march, demonstration, or procession on March 18—including from the Islamabad court complex.
The regulator said that if the directive is not followed, the licence would be suspended.
Khan has come under fire for purchasing presents, including a pricey Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a reduced price from the state storehouse known as Toshakhana, and then profitably reselling them.
Khan was removed from office in April of last year after losing a vote of no-confidence that he said was part of a US-led plot to assassinate him for his independent foreign policy choices on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
After his removal, Khan has pushed for early elections to replace what he called a "imported administration" headed by Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister.
Elections will take place later this year once the parliament's five-year term is over, according to Sharif.