In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 4 (3) read with section 19, 20 and all other enabling provisions of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority is pleased to make the following Regulations:

1. Short title and commencement.-

(1) These regulations shall be called Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Content) Regulations 2012.

(2) They shall come into force at once.

2. Definitions.-

(1) Terms and expressions used in these regulations shall have, unless it appears repugnant to the context or provided otherwise, following meaning:

(a) “advertisement” means a set of visual and audio messages for the projection of a product, service, or idea with the object of propagating sale, purchase or hire of the product, service or idea for creating other related effects;

(b) “Authority” means the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) established under section 3 of the Ordinance;

(c) “Council” means the Council of Complaints established under the Ordinance;

(d) “content” includes programs and advertisements;

(e) “footage” means the raw, unedited material as it had been originally filmed by any video recording device;

(f) “licence” means a licence issued by the Authority to establish and operate a broadcast media or distribution service;

(g) “licensee” means a person to whom the Authority has issued a licence;

(h) “Ordinance” means the Pakistan electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 as amended from time to time;

(i) “programme” means the systematic broadcasting of visual or sound images by a broadcast station but does not include an advertisement;

(j) “regulations” means the regulations made under the Ordinance;

(k) “rules” means the rules made under the Ordinance;


(2) Words and phrases used but not defined in these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires, shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Ordinance and the rules made thereunder.

3. Programs and advertisements to comply with the local laws etc.-

(1) All the licensees shall ensure that programs and advertisements comply with the Ordinance, rules, regulations, code of conduct and do not violate any laws of the country.

(2) Where prior permission for airing of any advertisement or program is required to be obtained under any law, such advertisement or program shall not be aired unless requisite prior permision has been obtained.

4. Programming mix and live coverage.-

(1) A licensee shall show content as per its category and percentage wise content set out in the terms and conditions of the licence.

(2) A licensee shall not broadcast any live program unless an effective delaying mechanism has been put in place in order to ensure effective monitoring and editorial control.

(3) The in-house monitoring committee appointed by the licensee as required under section 20 (f) of the Ordinance shall be intimated to the Authority.

5. Local media industry protection.-

A licensee shall ensure that no program is aired in violation of the intellectual property rights.

6. National interest.-

(1) Licensees shall ensure that no program is aired that:

a) is against the national interest, brings into contempt Pakistan or its people or tends to undermine its integrity or solidarity as an independent and sovereign country;

b) undermines public security interest or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national or anti-state attitudes;

c) presents information or events in a manner likely to mislead or cause alarm to the public;

d) contains propagandist and ideological messages on behalf of any foreign country, group or organisation;

e) contains extremist or anarchic messages, including the incitement of violence for political ends or other purposes;

f) sensationalizes the treatment of any issue whether local, nationalistic or


foreign in nature;


contains aspersions against or ridicules the organs of the State; or


contains material which may be detrimental to Pakistan’s relations with foreign countries;

(2) Licensees shall ensure that due impartiality is observed in programmes dealing with matters of public policy or controversial issues of public importance in Pakistan and ensure that the factual content of programmes is accurate and duly supported by evidence.

(3) Licensees shall ensure that all militant groups or individuals who are notified by the Government as terrorists shall clearly be so identified and statements of such militant groups or individuals shall not be aired.

(4) Licensees shall ensure that there is no live coverage which discloses the tactical measures adopted by law enforcement agencies against terrorists during ongoing security operations.

(5) Licensees shall exercise judgement through decision making of senior editorial staff before airing details of identity or number of hostages or victims of any incident of terrorism and as a general policy, the same shall only be disclosed after the family members of the affected persons have been notified.

(6) Excessive repetition of archival footage that can cause depression, fear or agitation in the minds of public shall be prohibited.

7. Religious programming

.- No program shall be aired that contains derogatory remarks about any religion or sect or community or uses visuals or words contemptuous of religious sects and ethnic groups or which promotes communal or sectarian attitudes or disharmony.

8. Ethical & social values.-

Licensees shall show deference to the ethical and social values of the country and ensure that:

a) Any content that maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country is not broadcast or distributed;

b) Programmes do not make careless references to any class or group of persons as being inherently inferior or in any way discriminate against any section of the community on account of gender, age, disability or occupational status.

c) Content is not obscene or indecent;


d) Offensive or derogatory jokes, words, gestures, songs/ parodies, dialogues and subtitles are not broadcast or distributed;

e) Behaviour such as smoking and drug abuse is not presented as glamorous or desirable;

f) Alcoholic beverages shall not be shown;

g) No programme contains anything that denigrates men or women through the depiction in any manner of the figure, in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory;

h) No programme shall contain an abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race or caste, national, ethnic or linguistic origin, colour or religion or sect, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability;

i) All programmes broadcast are suitable for family audiences and are in conformity with cultural norms;

j) No program is aired that is offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency or is defamatory;

9. Programming for children.-

(1) Programmes meant for children shall not:

a) contain scenes depicting the tobacco products unless an educational point is being made;

b) be presented in a manner which may be disturbing or distressing to children or which may in any way adversely affect their general well being;

c) be frightening, broadcasters should provide an advisory to alert parents; and

d) be deceptive or misleading;

(2) As programmes with horror and supernatural content may be frightening to children, they shall be broadcast in timeslots that are less accessible to children.

10. Language

– (1) Programmes shall maintain high standards of language and abusive language shall be strictly avoided in all programming categories specially in dramas and talk shows.

(2) Standard urdu, regional and foreign languages which are grammatically correct, shall be used for programmes such as news, current affairs, info-educational programmes and programmes meant for children.

11. News and current affairs programmes.-

(1) News, current affairs or documentary programmes shall present information in an objective, accurate and balanced manner without being sensationalized.6

(2) All news-bulletins shall be prepared and edited by the licensee at its own through its editorial board.

(3) Any political or analytical program whether in the form of a talk show or otherwise, shall be conducted in an objective manner ensuring representation of the concerned parties and anchor persons shall treat the guests with due respect.

(4) The licensee shall ensure that the news do not contain anything factually incorrect.

(5) In the event any factually incorrect program, news or assertion is made by the licensee, the correct factual position shall be broadcast as soon as it comes to the knowledge of the licensee along with an apology.

(6) Programs on s

ub judice matters may be aired in informative manner and shall be handled with utmost care and no conclusive remarks shall be aired until the decision is announced by the court.

(7) Presentation of news must observe the following guidelines:

a) News reports / bulletins shall be presented with due impartiality and without the interjection of personal views by presenters. They shall also be clearly distinguished from commentary and analysis.

b) Gloomy, sensational, or alarming details not essential to factual reporting shall not be aired as a part of news-bulletin.

c) Footages of gory scenes including bloodshed and dead bodies shall not be aired.

d) News shall not be aired in a manner that creates public panic.

(8) While reporting the proceedings of the Parliament or the Provincial Assemblies, such portion of the proceedings as the Chairman or the Speaker may have ordered to be expunged, shall not be broadcast or distributed and every effort shall be made to release a fair account of the proceedings of the Parliament or the Provincial Assemblies.

(9) The evidence on which a dramatic reenactment is based shall be tested with the same rigor required of a factual programme.

(10) Sequences that are based on extracts of court proceedings, from police records, and other sources must be fair. Where the creative realization of some elements (such 7

as characterization, dialogue or atmosphere) may introduce a fictional dimension, this shall not be allowed to distort the known facts.

(11) Footage or re-enactment of executions or other scenes in which people are clearly seen being killed or about to die shall not be shown.

(12) An anchorperson while conducting a talk show shall:

a) clearly highlight the topic of programme and ensure that discussion remains within the ambit of the topic;

b) ensure that information he/she provides is fair, accurate and is not false, distorted, inappropriate or misleading;

c) conduct the programme in an objective and unbiased manner;

d) not present material in a manner that creates public panic;

e) avoid exploitation that is appearing to purposefully debase or abuse a person, or group of persons;

h) avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as fact;

j) not distort or suppress the truth for commercial, institutional or other special interests;

l) not take advantage of information gained in the course of his/her professional duties for private gain previously;

m) avoid intrusion into private life, grief or distress of individuals;

k) ensure impartial and balanced hosting of the programs.


12. Coverage of incidents of violence and crime.-

(1) Coverage of incidents of violence and crime shall not incite, glamorize or in any way promote violence or other types of anti-social behaviour.

(2) Advisory notices shall be given upfront for content which may be potentially disturbing or upsetting so as to enable viewers to make an informed choice.

(3) Scenes with excessive violence or suffering such as close-up shots of persons being brutally tortured and killed shall not be shown. 8

(4) It shall be ensured that reporting of incidents of crime or violence does not in any way creates hurdles in dispensation of the duties of rescue agencies, hospitals and doctors.

(5) Extreme caution shall be exercised in handling themes, plots or scenes that depict sex and violence, including rape and other sexual assaults.

(6) Identity of any victim of rape or sexual abuse or such victim’s family shall not be revealed without prior written permission of the victim or victim’s guardian where victim is a minor.

(7) Programmes shall not glamorise or in any way promote persons groups or organizations who use or advocate the use of violence or engage in any criminal activity within Pakistan or elsewhere.

(8) A licensee shall not broadcast video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and any other act which may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorist or terrorism.

13. Coverage of elections.-

Licensees shall comply with the guidelines or code issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Authority for coverage of elections and airing of related programs.

14. Privacy and personal data protection.-

(1) Any personal information of any individual shall not be revealed unless prior written permission has been obtained from such person.

(2) Licensees shall not obtain or seek information, audio, pictures or any agreement thorugh misrepresentation or deception unless the same is considered absolutely necessary in the public interest.

15. Advertising.-

(1) Advertisements shall conform to the requirements of the laws of the country including the laws pertaining to protection of the consumer rights.

(2) Advertisements meant for children shall not directly ask the children to buy the product.

(3) Advertisements shall not promote violence or other activites harmful to human health or property.9

(4) Advertisements of any alcoholic beverages, drugs or narcotics shall not be aired.

(5) Any health related advertisement shall not be aired without prior permission of the Federal Government as required under the relevant applicable laws.

(6) Promotion of any kind of lotteries, gambling or betting shall be prohibited.

(7) A licensee shall ensure that its service is not used to advertise or otherwise promote:-

a) astrology;

b) geomancy;

c) palmistry;

d) any sort of spiritualism magic or black magic; or

e) any other type of fortune-telling.

(9) Advertisement shall not exploit nationalistic behavior and use of national symbols and anthem purely for the purposes of promotion of a product or any quality in such product shall be prohibited.

(10) Advertisements shall be readily recognizable as such and kept separate from programmes.

(11) Advertisements in the form of subtitles, logos or sliding texts on TV shall not exceed a maximum of one tenth of the whole screen.

16. Responsibility for advertising.-

Licensee shall be responsible for distribution of illegal or prohibited advertisements.

17. Errors and corrigendum.-

(1) In the event any false news or information is aired, the licensee shall acknowledge and correct the same on the same medium without any delay in the same manner and magnitude as that of the false news or information was aired.

(2) Any person aggrieved from any aspect of the program may file a complaint before the council as provided in Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Council of Complaints) Rules 2010.

18. Distribution of TV channels.-

A distribution service operator shall relay only those TV channels that are licensed by the Authority.

19. Interpretation.-

In case of a dispute or controversy over interpretation, purported meanings or effect of any particular content, the decision of the Authority shall be final and binding on all the concerned parties.