Ms. Anjali Sen, Regional Director, IPPF-South Asia Region said “It comes as a huge relief that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has decided to reconsider its blanket ban on all advertisements of contraceptives in the electronic media.
In the first place, it was an ill-considered order in the backdrop of the fact that Pakistan has the highest population growth, birth and fertility rates among the South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal. This blanket ban had raised serious questions because the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) for women in reproductive age in Pakistan is an abysmal 35.40, as per 2013 figures. Given the realities of fertility rates and population growth in Pakistan, the Pakistani policy makers must understand that information on contraceptive choices is the key.
From around the world, we have many examples on how a desire for smaller families have led to greater investments in family planning, which have helped transform the age structure and consequently contributed to overall well-being. If the power of media, including the electronic media is harnessed, Pakistan will not stare at a projected 342 million people by 2050. Pakistani policy makers will appreciate that such population explosion will ultimately jeopardize the gains that Pakistan has made over the last few decades. A blanket ban on all contraceptive commercials in electronic media would have been counter-productive and it would have unspeakably harmed Pakistan’s national interest in slowing the population growth. If anything, the state and its agencies should actively facilitate free flow of information on contraceptives and the choices available if Pakistan has to achieve its population and development priorities.
As a leading provider and advocates of family planning, South Asia Regional Office of IPPF welcomes PEMRA’s withdrawal of a blanket ban on advertisement of contraceptive products on Pakistani electronic media."