PM scolds ministers over Pemra row after Firdous complain

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday denounce some federal ministers and senior leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for their statements against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) recent move to bar television anchors from appearing as “experts” in their own and other channels.

Presiding over a meeting of the federal cabinet, the prime minister showed resentment over tweets of Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari and MNA Asad Umar against the Perma move and warned them against criticising the government decisions ‘openly’.

“Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan lodged a complaint with the prime minster that Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari and Asad Umar  made remarks through their tweets against the government’s decision,” a participant of the meeting told Dawn on condition of anonymity. He said the prime minister was of the view that the “government ministers should not have discussed such matters openly”.

At this, Fawad Chaudhry said to the prime minister that Pemra had not taken the decision in an appropriate manner, inviting criticism against the government.

The Pemra move has stirred controversy even in media and official circles. In his tweet, Asad Umar had said: “Amazing decision by Pemra to stop anchors to go on any other talk show and express their opinion! Pemra should be doing a better job taking action against completely fake news and not suppressing the right of individuals, including anchors, to express their opinion.”

Shireen Mazari had tweeted: “Who is an “expert”? An interesting [and] unintended debate has been generated – so purely at an academic non-political level: Do I need a degree in politics to be an expert on politics? I have no degree in ‘human rights’ so should I go on TV to discuss ‘human rights’ issues?”

Fawad Chaudhry had described the Pemra directive as “illogical, unnecessary and uncalled for”.

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