ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Friday unanimously decided to impose a fine Rs 1 million on each national private television channel and Rs 500,000 on regional for airing fake news of a bomb blast in Gulberg, Lahore on February 23.
The authority had also directed the management of all 29 TV channels to air apology on their screens on March 6 at 6 pm in the same manner and magnitude as the fake news was aired, a press release said.
Besides tickers/scroll pertaining to apology shall also be aired from 6 pm to 7 pm during the regular transmission of the channel. The text of the apology would also be given to these TV channels for compliance.
The national news and current affairs channels which aired fake news of bomb blast in Gulberg, Lahore included Samaa TV, Dawn News, Channel-5, 7 News, Din News, Capital TV, BOL News, News One, Abb Takk, Roze TV, K-21, Jaag TV, Waqt TV, Channel-92, Express News, Sach TV, Channel-24, Lahore News, Metro One, Geo News, Dunya TV, ARY News, NEO TV and Koh-e-Noor. The regional news and current affairs channels which aired fake news are namely KTN News, Sindh TV News, Khyber News, Awaz TV and Mehran TV.
The authority members expressed their determination on taking strict action against any unprofessional practice by the television channels.
The authority also asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to look into the complaints against Pakistan Television (PTV) on airing of fake news.
PEMRA had received a number of complaints against PTV but it was not under PEMRA. PEMRA had issued show cause notices to these TV channels and also gave an opportunity of hearing and directed them to explain why they had aired the unverified news causing panic among the people.
On March 2, the TV channels submitted their reply. During the personal hearing, majority of the representatives from TV channels admitted that they had simply picked the story from other channels.
The authority meeting was presided over by PEMRA Chairman, Absar Alam and attended by Federal Board of Revenue Chairman, Dr Muhammad Irshad, Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shaheen Habibullah, Member Punjab Nargis Nasir and senior officials of PEMRA.