The Islamabad High Court (IHC) today while hearing a case pertaining to the alleged presence of 'blasphemous content' on social media, ordered the formation of a committee to monitor the contents being aired on television channels as well.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui instructed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Absar Alam and DG Technical to be included in the committee that would oversee the contents on morning shows, talk shows and other programmes being aired on television channels.

The judge passed the order while hearing the case filed by Salman Shahid (son-in-law of Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid fame).

In his petition, Shahid had argued that the presence of blasphemous content on social media websites was "hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims".

During today's hearing, the court ordered the relevant authorities to make all print and electronic media aware of Article 19 of the Constitution which, while granting freedom of speech, restricts content against the glory of Islam and integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or against friendly relations with foreign states.

The court told the Pemra chairman that if Article 19 is included in the laws of the regularity body, the licences of six or seven television channels will be cancelled.

It directed that the committee should review advertisements and international content being aired on the television.

“We have worked hard over the past one year to ban Indian channels,” Alam told the judge.

“Obscene content ? regardless of whether it comes from Saudi Arabia, Turkey or India… we don’t need it,” the judge told the chairman. “Why do we follow America and India?” he asked.

Later the court adjourned the hearing till March 22.