Ban on promotion of Valentine’s Day

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Wednesday issued an advisory directing local media to desist from promoting Valentine’s Day.

The authority directed all broadcast media and distribution services licensees to refrain from promoting Valentine’s Day as per an order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The IHC, in a verdict passed on February 13, 2017, had prohibited the celebration of Valentine’s Day in public spaces and government offices across the country. The court had also warned the print and electronic media to stop all Valentine’s Day promotions immediately.

The orders were given on a petition submitted by a citizen, Abdul Waheed, who had maintained that promotion of Valentine’s Day through mainstream and social media was against Islamic teachings and should be banned immediately.

The judgment had directed the secretaries of the ministries of information and broadcasting, information technology, PEMRA chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Islamabad chief commissioner to ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine’s Day and its promotion was spread on the electronic and print media. “No event shall be held at the official level and at any public place. The PEMRA chairman is directed to ensure that all TV channels stop the promotion of Valentine’s Day,” the order read.

In 2016, President Mamnoon Hussain had urged Pakistanis to forego celebrating Valentine’s Day, saying that it was not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West.

Published in Daily Times, February 8th 2018.