A recent decision by PEMRA to ban the advertisements of contraceptives on TV Channels and FM Radio has triggered a debate in the country weather this is a regressive step or not. The points of view on both sides being discussed through mass and social media reconfirm that Pakistan public opinion is diametrically divided on such social issues.
PEMRA keeps receiving complaints from general public and state institutions on violation of Codes 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 respect 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 advertisement of contraceptive 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 advertisement and the prime time 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.
Until a final decision by the board ( The Authority ) on this issue, there will not be a blanket ban on these advertisements with the understanding that these ads would not be aired during primetime ( Children viewing time) special care would be given to the use of language and visuals to confirm to our culture values which are going through a slow evolutionary process.
Official Notification by PEMRA .