Pakistan bans 'intimate moments' from TV

An employee works at the control room of a news television channel in Karachi. (Reuters/File)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Pakistan bans 'intimate moments' from TV

  • PEMRA issued its warning on Tuesday, calling on channels to respect the country's existing media guidelines
  • Pakistani dramas and soap operas, many of which seek to challenge the deeply patriarchal country's conservative taboos

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani television channels may no longer show "intimate moments between couples" or "bed scenes", the conservative country's media regulator has announced, complaining of too much feminist content and warning that such "bold themes" offend viewers.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued its warning on Tuesday, calling on channels to respect the country's existing media guidelines and refrain from airing content that does not depict a "picture of true Pakistani society".
"The prevalent rampant trend of airing quite bold themes in Pakistani drama industry has resulted in massive public complaints," PEMRA said in an English-language statement.
"Indecent scenes/dialogues/extramarital relations, violence, inappropriate dressing, rape scenes, caressing, bed scenes, use of drugs and alcohol, intimate moments between couples are being glamourized in utter disregard to Pakistani culture and values," it continued.
Pakistani dramas and soap operas, many of which seek to challenge the deeply patriarchal country's conservative taboos, are immensely popular, according to data from PEMRA and Gallup Pakistan.
Many revolve around plotlines portraying social issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, misogyny and women. Activists have previously hailed some as potentially powerful vehicles for grassroots change.
Last year, a soap opera dramatising the life of social media star Qandeel Baloch -- infamous for her provocative selfies, until her shocking murder by her brother in 2016 -- topped the charts.
Other shows highlighting the issues of so-called "honour" killings and forced marriages were also hits, despite being targeted by a wave of vitriol on social media, with people accusing the channels of spreading vulgarity and destroying social values.
In its statement PEMRA said such dramas "depict hackneyed image of women and have confined themselves to feminist issues only... ignoring children, teenagers and men".


British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

Updated 20 February 2019
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British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

  • The MP of the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship
  • Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians

A prominent British politician has called for Asma Assad, the British wife of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, to be stripped of her UK citizenship. 

The foreign affairs spokesman of the centrist party, the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship after her social media posts in support of her husband’s regime.

 “The first lady of Syria has acted not as a private citizen but as a spokesperson for the Syrian presidency... Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could say to Asma Assad, either stop using your position to defend barbaric acts, or be stripped of your citizenship,” Brake was cited by British daily the Guardian as saying.  

Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

She posted a message saying: “The presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that what America has done is an irresponsible act that only reflects a short-sightedness, a narrow horizon, a political and military blindness to reality and a naive pursuit of a frenzied false propaganda campaign.”

Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, also joined the call to revoke her British nationality, calling Asma “very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes.”

Asma was born and raised in London to Syrian parents and left the UK in 2000 to live in Syria where she married Assad.