PEMRA board to vet contraceptive ads

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Saturday decided to put its recent decision to ban advertisements of contraceptives on TV channels and FM radios for vetting to its Board for further deliberations.

In larger public interest, PEMRA is recognizing both shades of opinion in our society and said until a final decision by the Board (The Authority) on this issue, there will not be a blanket ban on these advertisements.

The understanding would be that these ads would not be aired during primetime (children viewing time), special care would be given to use of language and visuals to conform to our cultural values which are going through a slow evolutionary process.

According to a press release issued here, the Authority said its recent decision to ban the advertisements of contraceptives on TV channels and FM radios has triggered a debate in the country whether this is a regressive step or not.

It said the points of view on both sides being discussed through mass and social media reconfirm that Pakistani public opinion is diametrically divided on such social issues.

PEMRA keeps receiving complaints from general public and state institutions on violations of Code of Conduct and other issues.

According to law, if complaints have a merit, PEMRA is bound to follow a process and reach a decision which, due to this divide in our society, generates for and against public opinion.

PEMRA is not insensitive to public opinion. It is accountable at all levels, and respects the valuable feedback about all its decisions. But in a situation where public opinion is so sharply divided, it is a challenge for the regulator to take a decision acceptable to all.

Despite that, PEMRA acknowledges that its recent decision to put a blanket ban on the advertisements of contraceptives has raised social, medical and population control concerns by civil society and many others.

At the same time, due to our religious and cultural compulsions, there are concerns by parents about the use of language/ innuendoes/ visuals in such advertisements and the primetime slots in which these ads are aired.

In the larger public interest, PEMRA, recognizing both shades of opinion in our society, has decided to put this decision for vetting to its board for further deliberations.- APP