The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed all the news channels inviting retired army officers in current affairs talk shows as ‘defense analysts’ to seek prior clearance from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army’s media wing. In a ‘confidential’ letter to all TV channels dated April 4, the media watchdog said that it has been seriously observed by quarters concerned that retired military officers arc frequently being invited in different news and current affair programmes and talk shows as ‘defense analysts’ to solicit their views and opinions on matters of national security and related affairs. “Such invitees are usually not fully conversant/abreast with the latest defense and security developments due to their service background and post-retirement time. Moreover, the discussion mostly switches from security matters to politics which inadvertently embroils military officers into political debate which is felt undesirable,” the letter read. “All news/current affair TV channels are requested that retired armed forces officers may only be invited as defense analyst for discussion on military matters with prior clearance from the ISPR. Subsequently, same to be done prior to first appearance of any officer as defence analyst,” the letter read. “Retired military officers, if invited in talk shows for discussion other than security matters, should be titled as ‘analyst’ only. However, procedure for clearance may be processed with the ISPR as ‘defence analyst’,” it added.The media watchdog further desired ‘strict compliance’ from all news and current affairs TV channels.