Media regulator prohibits TV channels from broadcasting the speeches and press conferences of the former prime minister.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s media regulator has banned television channels from broadcasting Imran Khan’s speeches and press conferences, accusing the former prime minister of attacking state institutions and promoting hatred.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed the ban late on Sunday after Khan gave a speech in the eastern city of Lahore, where he claimed former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was behind his resignation last April.
The cricketer turned politician gave the speech after police in the capital Islamabad attempted to arrest him in a corruption case. Khan, who denies the allegations, evaded arrest.
In its notice, the PEMRA said that Khan “made baseless accusations and spread hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officials, which is detrimental to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility”.
This was the third time that the PEMRA banned TV channels from broadcasting Khan’s statements since he lost the premiership and began holding mass rallies to demand immediate national elections.
Nearly two hours after the ban, the media regulator also suspended the license of ARY News, a private news channel, to broadcast Khan’s speech in Lahore.
The PEMRA said the news channel – which is considered sympathetic to Khan – violated his order.
Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission condemned the regulator’s decision to ban the broadcasting of Khan’s speeches on electronic media.
“We have always opposed measures to curb voting in the past – whether under the previous administration or before – and we remain committed to freedom of expression, regardless of the person’s political opinion,” it said. in a statement, demanding that the ban be “immediately lifted”.
Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) last year ranked Pakistan 157th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index list.