Government should not impose moral codes on TV serials, films — Pakistan information minister 

Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz during an interview with Arab News in Islamabad on May 14, 2020. (AN photo)
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Updated 20 October 2020

Government should not impose moral codes on TV serials, films — Pakistan information minister 

  • Shibli Faraz says not all content on TikTok ‘inappropriate’ but mechanism needed to filter ‘objectionable’ material 
  • Says content of films and dramas should not “damage our religious and cultural standards”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani information minister Shibli Faraz has said the government should not set moral codes for TV shows and films, but productions should not defy the Muslim country’s religious and cultural norms.

The minister’s comments come amid a push by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to censor TV serials.

No drama would be banned, Faraz said in an interview to Arab News, if it followed “norms and standards of [the] family system in Pakistan along with religious restrictions and guidance.”

When asked if the government planned to announce moral codes for TV channels and production houses, he said: “I personally believe that the government should not go to these lengths,” but added that films and dramas should not “damage our religious and cultural standards.” 

“We need films on and around the lives of historical heroes of this region, so that cinema becomes not only a source of promoting our history but also an inspiration for youth,” the minister said. 

Speaking about a recent ban imposed on social media application TikTok, Faraz said the blockade was temporary but the government needed to put in place a mechanism to ensure ‘objectionable’ content was filtered out for Pakistani viewers. 

Pakistan’s telecom regulator blocked TikTok earlier this month for what it said was its failure to filter out “immoral and indecent” content. The application was unbanned on Monday. 

“The issue is that if something is used in a wrong way, everyone related to it has to face the consequences,” Faraz said. “I don’t think that entire content on the app was inappropriate.”

He added: “But before reopening the app, the government wants to make sure that there is a certain mechanism … that barred the objectionable content from the reach of everyone.”

The TikTok ban was imposed in view of “complaints from different segments of the society against immoral and indecent content on the video sharing application,” the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had said in a statement, adding that it would review its ban subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content.

Diplomatic spat breaks out between Pakistan, India in United Nations General Assembly

Updated 41 min 14 sec ago

Diplomatic spat breaks out between Pakistan, India in United Nations General Assembly

  • The incident took place after Saudi Arabia introduced a resolution to protect rights of minority religious communities around the world
  • Pakistan described the adoption of resolution as 'a rebuke to the Hindutva extremists in India' who were trying to 'eliminate the heritage of Islam'

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations General Assembly once again witnessed some diplomatic wrangling between Pakistan and India on Friday as representatives of the two countries questioned each other's track record of dealing with religious minorities.

The debate took place after Saudi Arabia introduced a resolution, "Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites," on Thursday which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram described the adoption of the resolution as "part of the efforts initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan to combat Islamophobia and outlaw attacks on Muslim religious shrines, symbols and sacred personalities in certain countries."

"The adoption of the resolution is also a rebuke to the Hindutva extremists in India who have launched a systematic and government backed program to eliminate the heritage and legacy of Islam in India through the destruction of Islamic shrines and monuments and to the transformation of India's Muslims into second class citizens, or non-citizens," he was reported as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan.

However, India called it "ironic" that Pakistan was one of the countries sponsoring the resolution, claiming that a recent attack on a Hindu shrine in Karak was fully supported by Pakistani law enforcement agencies.

In response, Pakistani delegate Zulqarnain Chheena told India not to "feign concern for minority rights elsewhere," and called it "the most egregious and persistent violator of minority rights itself."

"The clear difference between India and Pakistan with respect to minority rights can be gauged from the fact that the accused in the Karak incident were immediately arrested, orders were issued for repairing the temple, the highest level of judiciary took immediate notice, and the senior political leadership condemned the incident," he said. "Whereas in India, blatant acts of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities take place with state complicity."

Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations expressed satisfaction after the resolution was adopted by UN member states.