Pakistan’s media watchdog has issued an immediate ban on broadcasting live speeches by former Prime Minister Imran Khan on all satellite television channels, just hours after he threatened state institutions and government officials while speaking at a rally in Islamabad.
Khan threatened to file cases against top police officials, a woman magistrate, the Election Commission of Pakistan, and political opponents over the treatment of his aide Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested last week on charges of sedition.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) stated that despite repeated warnings, television channels had failed to implement a time-delay mechanism to prevent the broadcast of material critical of “state institutions.”
“It has been observed that Mr Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in his speeches/statements is continuously accusing state institutions by levelling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers, which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity,” the statement said.
According to the regulator, Khan’s speeches violated Article 19 of the Constitution and the media code of conduct.
“The competent authority, i.e. Chairman PEMRA, in light of the foregoing background and reasons, and in the exercise of the authority vested in Section 27(a) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by the PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007, hereby prohibits the broadcast of Imran Khan’s live speech on all satellite TV channels with immediate effect,” it added.