Pak CJ takes notice of complaints about `obscene` TV shows

Pakistan`s Supreme Court has taken notice of complaints about "growing vulgarity and obscenity" in society.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court has taken notice of complaints about "growing vulgarity and obscenity" in society due to the contents of internet websites and television shows, including Indian channels, and sought a report from regulatory authorities.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took notice of applications filed by former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad and retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmed against the contents of the electronic media, Indian channels, and internet websites.

The human rights cell of the apex court sought the views of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on the matter.

PEMRA chairman Abdul Jabbar informed the court that the local market was "flooded with smuggled and pirated CDs, DVDs, decoders, dishes and cards, which are proliferating obscenity through broadcast media and distribution service".

Though PEMRA acted against the distribution and sale of illegal television decoders and seized some equipment, the action was challenged in the Lahore High Court and such seizures were suspended.

Jabbar further said PEMRA "cannot fully eradicate this menace and it will only be possible with coordinated efforts of all other relevant agencies".

PEMRA has framed a code of conduct for programmes and advertisement whereby no content that is "obscene, vulgar, indecent or against cultural values" can be aired.

Jabbar said the complaints would be taken up with stakeholders like the Pakistan Broadcasters Association and Cable Operator Association.

The PTA said in its response that Pakistan could not stop blasphemous and pornographic material as the current filtration system had limited capabilities and could block a maximum of 500,000 web links.

The PTA had received a list of 779,000 porn websites and had approached the Information Technology Ministry for assistance.

It has currently blocked the most viewed pornographic websites.