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Pak govt issues ordinance banning glorification of terrorists in media


Lahore (Jan. 21, 2015): With some right wing media houses turning a deaf ear to its 'request' to stop giving coverage to banned outfits and their leaders, the Pakistan government has been forced to issue an ordinance banning glorification of terrorists in any fora including the media.

The government is also working on introducing a legislation in the National Assembly for local media regarding any kind of 'glorification' of the terrorists, banned militants, publication or broadcast of the statements of the banned organisations or their leaders.

Some right wing media houses are giving a deaf ear to the government's 'request' to stop giving coverage to banned outfits and their leaders.

The Nawaz Sharif government had asked media houses not to give coverage to militants and the banned organisations after the Peshawar terror attack by the Taliban that killed 150 people mostly children.

The ordinance has also forbidden a person from manufacturing, possessing or selling uniform of army, police or any other organisation or agency notified by the government without their prior written permission.

The Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, which amends the identical law of 1960, is part of the legal reform measures the government has taken to curb terrorism.

According to the ordinance, "A person shall not, by words spoken or written, use any formal forum to support terrorism or terrorists, or attempt to create sympathy for any terrorist or terrorist organisation, or to oppose action of Pakistan army, air or naval force, police or Rangers against any terrorist or terrorist organization".

"The organizer of a formal assembly shall electronically record audio and video of unedited speech or speeches made there, and submit a copy of such record to the officer in-charge of the police station (concerned)," it said.

Formal fora means electronic or print media (television, radio, newspaper, periodical and journal), political or religious gathering with prior notice or a sermon at a place of worship.

The ordinance defines 'formal assembly' as a political or religious gathering held with prior notice or a sermon at a place of worship.

A marriage ceremony, a lecture or an activity in an educational institution or meetings of a club, society or company will not be considered as such an assembly.

The term 'organiser' means a person or persons, who has or have organised the assembly or invited people to attend it and includes owner, manager or in-charge of the place where the assembly is held and the person who makes a speech there.

The punishment for violation of the three offences is imprisonment for up to six months and fine ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 100,000.