Pemra has banned the ARY News show Off The Record for 60 days for allowing Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda to appear on the show with a boot.
The host, Kashif Abbasi, has also been banned from appearing on any television channel for 60 days. This includes as a host, guest, analyst or expert on ARY News or any other channel. If ARY News does not comply with this order, its satellite TV channel could be suspended or revoked.
A notification of this order was issued by Pemra on January 15.
Vawda appeared on Abbasi’s show on January 14 alongside the PPP’s Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N’s Muhammad Javed Abbasi. In the midst of an argument, he brought out the boot from beneath the table.
“The PML-N gave respect to the boot by lying down. From now on, I’ll bring it on every programme,” he said. Vawda went on to criticise the opposition leaders for supporting the Army Act Amendment Bill.
Pemra says Vawda’s remarks were “extremely frivolous and derogatory but also an attempt to debase a state institution”. But the notification mentions no action against the minister.
During the show, Abbasi said, “When you handed me a letter before the show, I thought you were going to bring a gun. But this [boot] seems much more dangerous.” While saying this, Abbasi laughed.
Pemra has said that this action against him is being taken for not stopping Vawda’s “unethical” act. The notification says he “rather took the entire incident casually and kept smiling/cherishing such occurrence”.
The action is being taken under sections 3(I)(e,j), 4(7)(b), 4(10), 5, 13 and 17 of the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015 read with Section 27(a) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002.