ISLABAMABAD - Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) yesterday imposed fine on 13 private television channels for airing wrong news of third marriage of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. 

The Council of Complaint Islamabad recommended the PEMRA  to impose fine of Rs0.5 million on each channel. 

Iftikhar Duranni, Head of Central Media Department PTI, on July 13 launched a complaint with the PEMRA. However for unknown reasons the PTI on Friday (August 26) announced to withdraw its complaint against all channels except one. PEMRA has also directed the managements of all channels to air unconditional apology for airing false news and in case of non-compliance the regulatory body threatened their licences could be cancelled. According to PEMRA, the complainant in this case had desired to withdraw complaint against all channels except one Dunya TV. “It’s against the fundamentals of justice. All channels which violated code of conduct will be punished in a bid to uphold standards of journalism,” PEMRA said in a statement. 

PEMRA said that although PTI had withdrawn a complaint it lodged with the top regulatory body but decision (of imposing fine) was aimed “to uphold standards of journalism”. Each channel would have to pay Rs0.5m fine, the PEMRA Complaints Council Islamabad, which met here on Saturday, recommended.

 On July 12, almost all private television channels aired hours-long bulletins airing news about third marriage of PTI Chief Imran Khan. Despite Khan’s categorical rejection of the news the channels continued to air said news.

The CoC also heard the complaint of Maryam Nawaz against programme of Channel 24 "Khara Such". The complainant said the host of programme shown a picture, claiming that Maryam Nawaz chaired a high-level meeting of federal secretaries in the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The complainant said the officials of National Bank of Pakistan gave briefing over Youth Loan Programme. The CoC imposed Rs0.5 million fine on TV.

Chairperson PEMRA Complaints Council Islamabad Shamim Hamayon chaired the meeting, while its members Prof Dr Maqsood Jafri, Dr Shahjahan Syed, Haroon Rashid, Nuzhat Fatima and Mohammad Farooq also attended the meeting.