The appended letter has been sent to PEMRA electronically as well as having been physically delivered to PEMRA Headquarters, Islamabad.
June 1, 2017
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority
Mauve Area G-8/1, Islamabad
ALLEGATION AGAINST QUAID-I-AZAM IN SAHIR LODHI’S PROGRAMME ‘ISHQ-E-RAMAZAN’ SHOW CAUSE NOTICE ISSUED TO TV ONE
This is with reference to the press release on the captioned subject issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Islamabad, vide reference no. 2(05)/PR-2015/I, dated May 31, 2017.
First and foremost, I, as a citizen of Pakistan, would like to express my gratitude for issuance of the said notice to TV One in violation of Section 20(c) and (f) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002, Section 15(1) of PEMRA Rules 2009 and clauses 5, 3 (I) (a) and 17 of the Electronic Media Code of Conduct of 2015.
While management of TV One has been called on for an explanation on account of Sahir Lodhi, who while hosting “Ishq-e-Ramazan” on May 28, 2017, held Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, responsible for deaths of those martyred during partition of the subcontinent, the following is presented for your consideration:
- There was a young female involved, supposedly named Dr. Saba Rizwan, who was abruptly interrupted and was not allowed to complete her speech, charging her of being insulting to Quaid-i-Azam, holding the Quaid responsible for all social evil in Pakistan today.
- After watching the speech, which is available on various social media sites, general belief of the masses is that the charges levied against her were wrong and the overall behavior of the host, Sahir Lodhi tantamount to Mr. Lodhi being discriminatory, rude and insulting and harassing to the debater and the public at large which supported her argument and clapped.
- Mr. Lodhi challenged the other’s patriotism and implied that other, especially the debater, do not care about the moralities, values of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and that the founding fathers are not respected by others as much or more than they are respected by Mr. Lodhi.
- Even if the debater was guilty of all the charges levied by Sahir Lodhi, what right and authority can be exercised by a host/anchor person on live TV and what is the conduct to be observed in such cases?
The following is presented as reference:
- Electronic Media Code of Conduct, Section (3) (1) (a) “No content is aired which is against the Islamic values, ideology of Pakistan or founding fathers of the nation…”
- The treatment dispensed towards the debater was seemingly much against the Islamic values and the ideology of Pakistan, both of which put women at highest of honors. Being humiliated on television for false charges and no being heard may be in direct contrast to the quoted regulation.
- Electronic Media Code of Conduct, Section (3) (1) (f) “No content is aired which is likely to incite, aid, abet, glamorize or justify violence…or leads to serious public disorder.”
- If various individuals including certain known ones present on the stage can clap on Mr. Lodhi’s outburst, is it not possible that his speech may incite violence in view of publicizing ‘his’ definition of patriotism and implying others who do not conform to his definition are somehow lesser Pakistanis and putting the debater under direct threat? Matters of patriotism are personal and one’s being denounced may have dire consequences not only towards the individual being criticized but a larger group who may not agree.
- Electronic Media Code of Conduct, Section (3) (1) (k) “No content is aired which amounts to intimidation, blackmail or false incrimination of any person.”
- Mr. Lodhi’s hurling of insults to the individual and the entire episode was based on false pretense. Not only did Mr. Lodhi react on something which was never said, he actually held the public responsible who had much better level of understanding and applauded the debater. Mr. Lodhi’s demeanor was insulting and derogatory towards the debater and this attitude was baseless and on false charges. If his demeanor was not intimidation, the honorable PEMRA is requested to elaborate on the application of the quoted clause.
With utmost respect for the founding fathers of Pakistan and the rules and regulations laid down to ensure overall quality of content improves and a discipline is maintained on electronic media, PEMRA is requested to kindly let the public of Pakistan know while rightfully honoring a great founding father of Pakistan, how does PEMRA view the honor of a living Pakistani in light of the quoted clauses. If the honor of a living Pakistani is important, which does seem to be the case in light of various rules and regulations some of which have been quoted for reference, why is it then none of these reasons were felt important enough to make it to the notice referred to above issued to TV One and why is there no notice against Mr. Sahir Lodhi in particular?
Vide this letter, it is stated that I, as a Pakistani, have been offended with such a display as the one under discussion here. These are not the values of our society and such behavior needs to be condemned in the most powerful words and punished as per law.
In the opinion of a viewer, a young female was reflecting upon the issues faced by a female, and she was proven right on live TV.
Mohammad Ali Rahman
A Concerned Pakistani
Physical Letter dispatched to: PEMRA Headquarters, Islamabad
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