ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a notice to NewOne channel on Saturday for airing a verbal clash between Jamiat Ulema-e-Isam-Fazl (JUI-F) Lawmaker Hafiz Hamdullah and Woman Rights Activist Marvi Sirmed on June 10.

According to the notice issued to the channel, the media regulator demanded the reason for airing the intense verbal exchange by June 17 and strictly warned the private news channel about the consequences of airing such heated words exchange which could face Rs1 million fine or cancellation of the channel programme ‘Nadia Mirza Show’.

The host Nadia Mirza has been accused in the notice, for not practicing control during the verbal exchange of the scurrilous fight between the two participants.  “The threats and insults were deliberately allowed to escalate to the point that Hafiz Hamdullah may have physically attacked Marvi Sirmed had another guest not intervened,” it added.

“This was extremely irresponsible, insulting and unprofessional behaviour and clips of the episode make it clear that this was done on purpose to score cheap ratings at the expense of the dignity of the guests, which is contrary to journalistic ethics,” he added.

JUI-F Senator Hafiz Hamdullah, Marvi Sirmed, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Fayyazul Hassan Chohan and Barrister Masroor were guests on a show aired by NewsOne on Friday to debate over rising cases of honour killings in various parts of the country, women protection bill and role of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

Aggressive exchange of arguments between the two initiated when Sirmed started speaking. Both used harsh words against each other. The TV channel beeped some comments and displayed the Senator suddenly going out of the show.

After the incident, Sirmed promptly went on to Twitter and Facebook, stating Hamdullah, cursed her in the show. “I returned the volley with a flurry of my own, targeting the women of his family. And then he tried to beat me. All of this is recorded on camera,” she added.

However, the PEMRA simultaneously stated that show was recorded rather than broadcast live, which suggested that the abuse was deliberately allowed to air. “It is clear the sole purpose of this [incident] was to provoke and inflame,” it added.

The media regulatory body also cautioned the TV channel its transmission will be suspended unless if it confirms before the authority by June 17, it has an editorial committee in situ and time-delay system.