Pakistani media regulator, PEMRA has put on hold its decision to ban contraceptive ads on television and radio channels.
According to reports, PEMRA is seeking further feedback on its consultation before its board takes a final decision soon. In latest developments, these type of ads would not be broadcast during times when children are viewing. 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.
PEMRA 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.
It said that it 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 says it 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.
PEMRA said it acknowledges the 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 prime time slots in which these ads are aired.