ISLAMABAD: Soon after imposing a ban on family planning advertisements on electronic media, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has reversed the decision. Promotion of birth control is part of the national agenda and therefore could not be banned from advertising. PEMRA issued a revised notice on Saturday that nullified the ban until an alternative policy is formulated by the authority. However, such advertisements will not be aired during prime time, the notice said. According to the revised notice, PEMRA considers prime time to be viewing time for children and therefore it has advised all TV channels to take utmost care with regards to the usage of visuals and language in the advertisements to make sure that they do not deviate from local culture and values. PEMRA will now decide upon an alternative course of action for such issues. It had issued the notification of ban on Thursday directing FM radio and TV channels to “immediately stop” airing advertisements marketing contraceptives and family planning products. According to the authority, this notification was issued in response to the complaints by parents against such commercials. The earlier notification said, “The general public is very much concerned on the exposure of such products to the innocent children, which get inquisitive on features/use of the products.” Following a protest from the society, PEMRA revised the notification. The latest notice by the authority read, “PEMRA acknowledges that its recent decision to put a blanket ban on the advertisements of contraceptives has raised social, medical and population control concerns by civil society and many others”. State institutions had also registered their concerns on such issues according to the notice. This is not the first time when PEMRA has taken action against advertisements about contraception but this had beenthe first instance when a blanket ban on birth control products’ ads was imposed. A senior PEMRA official said that there were no standard operating procedures in place at to deal with such matters. “There has to be a middle way because creating awareness of family planning is essential, but such advertisements cannot go beyond certain limits,” he said. The matter would likely be placed before the PEMRA board at its next meeting, expected to be held next month, he added.