Pak anchors barred from offering opinions in talk shows

Islamabad: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has barred television anchors from giving their “opinions” during talk shows and limited their role to “moderator”, a media report said on Monday.

In a directive issued to all satellite TV channel licencees, the electronic media watchdog also directed the anchors “not to appear as experts” in talk shows in their own or other channels, Dawn news said in the report.

Media houses have been advised to select the guests in talk shows with utmost care and keeping in view of their knowledge and expertise in a particular subject.

“Participants/invitees should be selected with due care having credibility as fair and unbiased analysts with requisite knowledge/expertise on the subject matter. As per Pemra code of conduct, the role of anchors is to moderate the programmes in an objective, unbiased and impartial manner, excluding themselves from their personal opinions, biases and judgements on any issue.

“Therefore, anchors hosting exclusive regular shows should not appear in talk shows whether own or other channels as subject matter expert,” said the directive.

It said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had in an October 26 order in the matter of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif versus the state taken cognisance of various speculative TV talk shows whereby anchorpersons, in violation of the code of conduct, tried to malign the judiciary and its decision with mala fide intension

Pemra said the IHC had also noticed that some anchorpersons/journalists held speculative discussions on October 25 on some TV channels and alleged a purported deal with regard to the bail granted to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“This was believed to be an attempt to tarnish the image and integrity of honourable superior courts and to make their judgement controversial,” it added.