IHC has taken the decision to suspend the ban that was previously imposed by PEMRA on television show “Hadsa.” This drama serial had faced controversy and a temporary ban due to concerns about its content. However, this decision means that viewers will soon have the opportunity to watch the show once more.
Wajahat Rauf, the showrunner of “Hadsa,” expressed his gratitude for the court’s ruling and highlighted the significance of the show’s narrative. He stated, “The Honourable Islamabad High Court has allowed our fictional character Taskeen to tell her inspirational story of getting justice for herself and all other survivors like her. Taskeen’s story is about how she became a survivor instead of a victim through a resolute struggle for justice. We are grateful that viewers will get to see the story in its entirety.”
The court’s decision to suspend the PEMRA ban is based on several factors, as outlined in a circulating court order. The order emphasized that the assessment of content falls within the jurisdiction of the Council of Complaints, a public regulatory authority. However, due to the unavailability of the Council of Complaints, the court deemed it necessary to ensure the protection of constitutional guarantees provided under Article 4 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Therefore, the minimum standards required at this stage had to be considered.
Furthermore, the court noted that PEMRA had not provided the applicant/appellant (the show’s producers) with the right to a hearing before issuing the prohibitory order. This lack of due process made the case of the applicant/appellant arguable, and the court recognized the inconvenience and potential irreparable loss caused to them. These factors led the court to suspend the “impugned order.”
The court also highlighted that if a specific part of the content was considered obscene, only that objectionable part should be prohibited from being broadcasted and should be modified accordingly. The complete play or drama should not be entirely banned, subject to the producer/director of the drama serial “Hadsa” providing an undertaking that any controversial scenes, especially those related to rape, would not be repeated or re-telecasted in subsequent episodes.
The legal battle surrounding “Hadsa” has sparked significant debate and scrutiny, touching on important issues such as freedom of expression, the jurisdiction of regulatory authorities, and the balance between artistic creativity and societal standards. With the Islamabad High Court’s decision to suspend the ban, viewers can anticipate the return of “Hadsa” to their screens, potentially with modifications to its content in compliance with the court’s directives.