Pemra chairman appeals govt for help against threats to employees

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Absar Alam

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Absar Alam on Monday revealed that Pemra employees are being threatened by unidentified people merely for undertaking their responsibilities as Pemra employees.
While speaking at a press conference, Alam played what appeared to be a recording of a threatening phone call and appealed to relevant authorities to investigate the threats and deliver justice to the ones responsible for threatening Pemra employees.
“I have a family, Pemra employees have a family. While I can tolerate personal attacks, I cannot permit threats directed towards my institution or its workforce,” he said.
“It is getting more and more difficult for us to operate. The situation is dire,” he said, referring to the threats.
Absar Alam also took the opportunity to appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice Saqib Nisar to expedite the judicial process that has seen 333 out of 357 Pemra notices challenged and stalled in the courts.
Alam also stressed that the government’s National Action Plan (NAP) to eradicate terrorism ought to consider Pemra as an important institution in curbing the menace of hate speech that at times makes its way to mainstream media outlets operating under Pemra regulations.
“As we have taken action against vulgarity,” Alam said, “it is also our responsibility to monitor and curb problematic hate speech on television.”
“We can’t even enforce the code of conduct that we have in place,” said Alam, referring to the difficulties he claimed Pemra faced in taking the notices to their logical end.
Answering a question, he said “I will not resign. I will struggle until our concerns are addressed.”

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