Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has issued a notice to NewsOne for airing a verbal assault by Jamiat Ulema-e-Isam-Fazl (JUI-F) Senator Hafiz Hamdullah on woman rights activist Marvi Sirmed on Friday.According to a notice issued to the channel, the media regulator has called for an explanation for airing the heated verbal exchange by June 17 or has warned the private news channel could face a fine of Rs1 million or cancellation of its programme, Nadia Mirza Show.
The talk show host has been accused, in the notice, for not exercising control over guests during the verbal duel between the two participants.“The threats and insults were deliberately allowed to escalate to the point that Hafiz Hamdullah may have physically attacked Marvi Sirmed had another guest not intervened,” the notice read.
“This was extremely irresponsible, insulting and unprofessional behaviour, and clips of the episode make it clear that this was done on purpose to score cheap ratings at the expense of the dignity of the guests, which is contrary to journalistic ethics.”
The JUI-F senator, Marvi Sirmed, Barrister Masroor and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Fayyazul Hassan Chohan were guests on a show aired by NewsOne on Friday to discuss recent honour killings, women protection laws and the role of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
Heated arguments between Sirmed and Hamdullah ensued after she started speaking. The two exchanged harsh words. The television channel censored some remarks and showed the senator abruptly leaving the show.
Soon after the incident, Sirmed took to Twitter and Facebook, saying Hamdullah had showered expletives upon her. “I returned the volley with a flurry of my own, targeting the women of his family. And then he tried to beat me. All of this is recorded on camera,” Sirmed said in a series on tweets on the microblogging website Twitter.
Meanwhile, Pemra also noted that the “show was recorded rather than broadcast live”, which indicated that the “abuse was deliberately allowed to air”.
“It is clear the sole purpose of this [incident] was to provoke and inflame.”
The media regulator also notified the channel its broadcast will be suspended unless it proves to the authority by June 17 it has a time-delay system and an editorial committee in place.
Sirmed filed an application with Kohsar police the same say day requesting the police to book the senator for verbally abusing and threatening to kill her during the TV show. Sirmed also stated that the senator charged and tried to beat her up but she was rescued by Chohan and the TV staff.
Police are learnt to have admitted the application and launched an investigation. Despite repeated attempts, Hafiz Hamdullah was unavailable for comment.