LHC suspends PEMRA’s ban on airing of Imran Khan’s speeches

Lahore High Court (LHC) has suspended the notification of the electronic media regulator barring the airing of speeches by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former premier Imran Khan.
On Sunday, Pemra slapped a speech-ban on the deposed prime minister after he heaped scorn at state institutions amid drama over his arrest from Zaman Park in the Toshakhana case. Subsequently, Khan filed a petition in the LHC for the annulment of the ban, accusing the regulatory authority of exceeding its constitutional powers by imposing the restriction.
Announcing a verdict reserved earlier in the day, the court directed the authorities to stop the implementation of Pemra’s speech ban.
After giving the decision in Khan’s favour, the LHC forwarded the case to a full-bench court, which will conduct a hearing on March 13.
In the prohibition order issued on Sunday, Pemra referred to previous directives wherein all licencees were directed to “refrain from telecasting any content against state institutions”.
The authority noted that Imran, in his speeches and statements, was “leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility.”
Pemra said that licencees telecasted the content without the effective utilisation of the time delay mechanism, in violation of the authority’s laws and judgements by the apex court.