PEMRA bans Indian channels, DTH in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Wednesday banned all illegal Indian content being consumed in the country through Direct to Home (DTH) services.

Addressing a news conference in at the PEMRA headquarters in Islamabad, the regulatory body’s chairman Absar Alam revealed there are over 3 million DTH consumers in the country adding that DTH consumption began in the Musharraf-era.

Alam added that a crackdown has begun against the transfer of funds for DTH services from Pakistan to India.

The PEMRA chairman declared the matter of Indian content consumption to be a sensitive matter adding that local Pakistani channels are allowed to air foreign content but it must not be more than 10 percent of total content being broadcast. He pointed out that off the 10 percent foreign content, 6 percent may be Indian content and 4 percent can be from other countries.

Laws governing foreign content broadcasts in the country were being violated, but now a complete clampdown has been enforced. Absar Alam told journalists, that no Indian channel has landing rights in Pakistan.

The regulatory body chairman also highlighted the need for legislation regarding Indian actors being used by Pakistani brands in their advertisements. He added, if the parliament makes the law PEMRA will enforce it.

Currently cable operators are allowed to broadcast as many as five in-house channels showing films and other content being played back from compact discs.

Alam made stressed that a complete ban against Indian TV channels is now being enforced and a crackdown is underway with the help of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other intelligence agencies.

The PEMRA chairman announced that soon a local DTH service will be available and consumers should abstain from using illegal DTH services. The use of illegal DTH services results in millions of rupees being illegally sent from Pakistan to India.

PEMRA has written to the provincial governments, the center, the Federal Board of Revenue and the Governor State Bank of Pakistan in this regard. Alam urged cable operators to comply with the decision voluntarily; after the 15th of October a crackdown will be launched against those not complying with the ban.


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