Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on Monday observed that Pakistani TV channels were "spreading vulgarity" and sought a record of all programmes against the judiciary as the Supreme Court heard an application against obscenity on television.
During proceedings on the application filed by former judge Wajihuddin Ahmed and former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Chief Justice contended that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority was doing nothing to prevent the spread of vulgarity on television.
Chaudhry cited some offensive programmes and advertisements and said people found it difficult to watch them with their families.
He contended that such programmes were even aired during Iftar, the meal to break the fast during Ramzan, and should be avoided.
The Supreme Court observed that TV channels aired news conferences and programmes against the judiciary and ordered PEMRA's Acting Chairman Abdul Jabbar to present a record of such programmes at the next hearing.
Chaudhry said the court was aware of TV shows that are aired solely to malign the judiciary.
Jabbar sought a month's time for research on programmes that are considered vulgar but the court denied his request.
The bench granted a week's time to PEMRA to act on the vulgar programming.
Chaudhry told Jabbar to categorise programmes with proper ratings as is done in the West so that people could know beforehand what they are watching.
In response to questions from the court, Jabbar said Indian channels were banned in Pakistan to prevent the broadcast of any "improper programmes".
Pakistani channels will now be screened for such programmes, he said.
Jabbar further informed the court that laws related to regulating programmes were not well defined.
The concept of vulgarity was not clear.
"Something which is vulgar to the complainants may not be vulgar to you and me," he said.
A deputy attorney general requested the court to take notice of TV shows that lampoon politicians and leaders.
The chief justice observed that such programmes were "in good humour" and were "enjoyed" by viewers.
However, the bench said such parodies and cartoons should not be insulting and or target religions.