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Venom-spewing Pak TV channels must be duly penalised: Editorial


August 20, 2011 - Islamabad

Pakistani society is fast becoming radicalised and intolerant, and some television programmes are making things worse by launching hate campaigns, an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper has said, adding that such venom-spewing channels must be duly penalised.

Apparently, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's speech on August 13 at a South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) seminar, wherein he talked about peace and economic ties with India, riled up quite a few people, The Daily Times editorial noted.

"A private television channel aired programmes on two consecutive days hosted by a certain female anchor who is well known for hate speech and inciting violence. The said host and some of her guests launched a diatribe against SAFMA," it said.

"One of the panellists, Zaid Hamid, described correctly as a "so-called analyst", accused SAFMA of being funded by Indian intelligence agency RAW and to be pursuing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bal Thackeray's agenda," it added.

The said programme was not just full of baseless allegations against SAFMA, but also featured content full of anti-India and anti-Hindu rhetoric.

"Hate-mongering based on religious differences should not be allowed to be aired on our television channels. There seems to be no sense of responsibility in our media, especially the electronic media, when it comes to jingoism and hate speech," said the editorial.

It pointed out that while SAFMA is well within its right to take legal recourse against the concerned accusers, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA) should have taken notice of the content of the programme.

"In the past we have seen that a popular televangelist's fatwa (religious edict) against the Ahmediyya community led to the deaths of a few innocent people. Had timely action been taken against the said televangelist, others would have been restrained from indulging in such abuse," the editorial stated.

"Those who are using our airwaves to spew venom should be duly penalised. Pakistani society is fast becoming radicalised and intolerant, and such programmes make things worse. Pakistan's media might be relatively free but this does not give our media license to abuse these freedoms," it maintained.

ANI

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