PEMRA also directed the channel to air an apology within 7 days through its prime time programme.
Lahore: Pakistan's electronic media regulator on Saturday imposed a fine of 1 million Pakistani rupees on a private television channel for airing a programme on Prime Minister Imran Khan's marital life claiming that his relations with his wife Bushra Bibi has soured.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) also directed the channel to air an apology within seven days through its same prime time programme to its audience in the same magnitude as the allegations were aired.
Former Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi, in his programme 'Najam Sethi ke Sath' which was aired on March 30 on Channel 24 News, had disclosed that serious differences have developed between Khan and his third wife over his activities. Sethi, in his prime time programme, had also claimed that the marriage might not remain intact like Khan's previous two marriages.
Following which, Khan approached the Council of Complaints of the PEMRA against airing of the programme by the channel. The Authority, after hearing Khan's complaint, ordered the channel to "deposit Rs 1 million (Rs 10 lakh) as fine in favour of PEMRA within seven days of the issue of the order."
The PEMRA also directed the channel and the anchor (Sethi) to air apology, within seven days from the date of issue of the order during the prime time in the same programme, to its audience in the same magnitude as the allegations were aired. It also directed the television channel to run text scrolls to the same effect for propagating false news about Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"The apology, including that in audio visual and text scroll form, should clearly refer to in its subjective context without repeating the afore-noted news item," it directed. The PEMRA also said that in case of failure to comply with the above orders either in partial or as a whole, the programme titled 'Najam Sethi Ke Sath' shall remain prohibited for a period of 30 days.
"If the channel fails to comply with the afore-stated directives, it will be construed that the channel is willfully defiant and subsequently the proceeding shall be initiated to suspend and revoke the license," the order said.
Following Sethi's 'revelations', Khan issued a statement saying that he was living happily with his wife, Bushra Bibi, and will live with her till his last breath. Responding to PEMRA order, Sethi tweeted: "No public figure, least of all a prime minister, can claim that his or her 'private affairs' are out of the scope of public scrutiny especially if they impinge on matters covered by Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan," quoting an excerpt from his article.
"Kindly let us know which statement Imran Khan finds untrue and objectionable. Also, very strange that you did not give us an opportunity to defend this statement! In fact, what if it turns out to be true later? Will you pay us Rs 10 lacs?" Sethi tweeted.