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In response to public complaints about the show’s “objectionable content,” PEMRA has decided to ban its broadcast.

The governing board also stated that the production would "diminish the country's image globally."

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The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned the broadcast and rerun of the TV drama serial Hadsa immediately after days of unrelenting outcry. The verdict is the result of widespread public protest against the drama for its claimed inaccurate depiction of the Motorway rape case.

As for the notice’s subject, it was titled “Objectionable content/theme of drama serial Hadsa. An application for disciplinary action under Section 27 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 was filed by Barrister Khadija Siddiqi, Advocate High Court, through Barrister Muhammad Ahmed Pansota, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Actor Hadiqa Kiani and showrunner Wajahat Rauf have both disputed that the drama is modeled on the incident, but that hasn’t stopped the outpouring of public outrage. Many Twitter users expressed concern that PEMRA’s drama could make the victim feel worse about what happened to them.

PEMRA decided to conduct an assessment of the drama serial in response to public concerns. Hadsa’s plot was deemed “highly inappropriate, disturbing, and not depicting a true picture of Pakistani society” by the governing body. As the notice continued to explain, “Furthermore, the public is of the opinion that portrayal of such a heinous act will not only trigger the trauma of that unfortunate victim but would also tarnish the country’s image globally, and viewers abroad would perceive Pakistan as an unsafe place for women.”

The notification states, “It is hereby prohibited immediately under Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007 to broadcast or re-broadcast the drama serial Hadsa.” The authority has also requested that the case be sent to the Council of Complaints for review and recommendation.

An Urdu statement issued by PEMRA read, “The ban on Hadsa highlights the authorities’ commitment to maintaining the quality of content and ensuring it resonates with the cultural and ethical values of Pakistan,” which has been translated as follows: This step should serve as a reminder to broadcasters to adhere to ethical guidelines when making programming and to consider audience reactions when making decisions.

According to the PEMRA Act and the PEMRA Code of Conduct, the Complaints Council’s decision will provide more context for the drama serial’s ultimate fate. This episode highlights the importance of the regulating authority in Pakistan in protecting and monitoring the media ecosystem and enforcing content standards.

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