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.