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Banning culture in Pakistani Media

In Pakistani media, we have seen that the rules and policies are very important. The media check by the authorities is always there. It is also very important that the content which is presented on electronic and print media should be regulated to some extent so that nothing goes beyond the boundaries of ethics and morals. Recently, it is seen that PEMRA was taking actions against a lot of media content being immoral or against our religion. In 2021, a drama “Dil Na Umeed to Nahi” by TV One was stopped by PEMRA for showing content which is against our religious values. The drama was based on the bitter realities of our society which is child abuse, young age prostitution, and human trafficking's. This kind of content is made to create awareness about these issues. Our society is not providing awareness about these issues as according to them talking about such issues is against our moral and religious values. And the lack of awareness is the reason why such crimes are increasing at an alarming rate. This is the responsibility of the media to make content like this to play their crucial role to expose this side of our society. But unfortunately PEMRA on the other hand is questioning such content and it issued a notice for the channel to change some scenes and edit the content according to the PEMRA rules and regulations. This is a point to think about in the 21st century where our media authorities are going if they cannot air content about such social issues now, so when will they do.

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There is no doubt that the media plays a crucial role in spreading awareness and shaping the mindsets of the masses regarding gender roles, power dynamics, social issues, and state affairs. PEMRA’s primary responsibility is to regulate and monitor the content shown in our mainstream media. In the history of Pakistan, several media contents have been banned on the accusations of violence, taboo, etc. PEMRA has banned TV shows and several advertisements on false accusations and illogical bases.


In recent years, PEMRA issued a notice to ban the advertisement of contraceptive methods for population control, such as condoms, on national mainstream media channels. It was argued that the audience, especially the parents, found it vulgar for their children that they…


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The various censorships and bans in Pakistan is linked to Antonio Gramsci's idea that propagation of bourgeois ideas through the media maintains the capitalist hegemony. Additionally, it acts in the interest of major profit exploiting corporations. The on and off banning of TikTok that spreads permissiveness according to the neo-conservatives showcases the failure of the role of media as a watchdog, unable to keep the power from being abused. Time and again, media has propagated the ideas of the dominant class and specific religious groups based on profit whereas it should have focused on the welfare of society. Tiktok as a platform should have been justified on the principles of utilitarianism as it provides economic opportunities yet the ban persists.

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PEMRA has been living in a bubble for a really long time and in my opinion, the censorship it practices since its existence has always been absurd to say the least. Recently, PEMRA passed an order to ban hug/caress scenes from TV serials and that alone gives a glimpse about the positionality and the kind of people who are behind making such policies. Moreover, this article also reminds me of the ban of the award-winning film by Sarmad Khoosat, "Zindagi Tamasha". According to the description of the film, "it follows the life of a naat khuwan (someone who recites Naats), who is shunned from society after a video of him — deemed objectionable by those around him — goes viral".…

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I believe PEMRA's favourite job is to air saas-bahu conflicts and the wife being tortured by the husband and his family. They have made it their trademark to ban anything and everything even remotely trying to shed light on important issues or raise awareness. This is highly troublesome because the mainstream media that the majority of the population is consuming, will have an impact on their thinking and opinions. It is because of this that domestic abuse has been so normalized in our society. How will society progress if our country will make it its mission to not let it progress?

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The media plays a crucial role in spreading awareness and educating the gender public in a country like Pakistan where poverty and illiteracy is at its highest. While PEMRA’s responsibility is to the regulate what is aired on our channels it has gone as far is banning anything that is considered offending our cultural values or that promotes “western” ideas. So dramas like “dil na umeed to nai” get banned yet on YouTube these dramas get very high ratings. This shows the hypocrisy of Pakistani people who complained of it being against their culture or being vulgar yet they want to see the so called vulgar content. Similar is the hypocrisy of the people of this country porn is banned yet…

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