Pakistan proposes law on media terror images

Lawmakers in Pakistan have proposed a code of conduct for Pakistan’s electronic media to restrict their graphic coverage of militants’ terror attacks, a government spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Presidential spokeswoman Farahnaz Ispahani said the code was not an attempt to control the Pakistan’s fiercely independent electronic media, and would be similar to one “practised all over the world.” If approved by the National Assembly, the new code will also repeal “draconian” laws imposed on the media by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, the spokeswoman said.

She defended the proposed new restrictions, saying that

Nowhere in the civilised world are murderers, terrorists and extremists given air time on the electronic media to expound their views.The Pakistani nation, our government and our military are fighting and facing death at the hands of these anti-state actors every day. Thousands of innocent Pakistanis have already died in this war. Showing dead, mutilated corpses and other extreme pictures and videos give psychological strength to the extremists and cause emotional grief to the people of Pakistan.

The proposed amendments will “bar the media from broadcasting video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and other acts which, may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorists or terrorism.”

The committee suggested that violators of the code be punished with a fine of up to 10 million rupees and imprisonment of up to three years for repeated violations, she said.

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