PERMA instructs Pakistani TV channels to censor 'hugs, caress scenes', feels 'they disregard Islamic teaching'

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In a notice issued on October 21, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) instructed local television channels to censor shows that feature 'hugs, caress scenes, extramarital relations, vulgar, bold dressing' among others as they 'disregard Islamic teaching and culture of Pakistani society'. The authority mentioned in the notice that they received several complaints from Pakistan’s 'general public' through Pakistan Citizen Portal, PEMRA’s Complaints Call Centre, social media platforms and WhatsApp groups. They expressed concern regarding the 'objectionable' content shown in Pakistani TV serials.

In the notice, PERMA said, "A considerable stratum of the society believes that dramas are not depicting the true picture of Pakistani society. Hugs/Caress scenes/extramarital relations, vulgar/bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couple are being glamourised in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society." It further added, "Forgoing in view, all satellite TV licensees are required to stop airing such content in dramas, henceforth, and ensure compliance of PEMRA laws in letter and spirit."

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This decision sparked off a debate on social media. Several Pakistani artists slammed PERMA for considering violence against women on TV acceptable and censoring scenes that show affection between couples.  

Journalist and cartoonist Reem Khurshid tweeted, "Depicting married couples hugging each other & other acts of affection/intimacy = haram Depicting men physically assaulting women (without any content warnings) = halal Pemra has really got its priorities straight (sic)"

Blogger Natasha Kundi also questioned PEMRA’s priorities and said, "I want to know what the real job of PEMRA is? Why was it actually established? We still have regressive old school dialogues in our dramas. We still openly show domestic violence. But no hugging and caressing should be banned in dramas. Priorities check karo."

(Source: Twitter)

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