22 cross media TV channel licences to be issued
ISLAMABAD – The government has decided to issue 22 TV channel licences falling in the category of cross media (those own more than one category of media) after passing an amendment in PEMRA Ordinance to be tabled in the coming session of National Assembly for this purpose. The other media category includes a radio, a newspaper and a TV cable operator.
Speaking at a press conference, after the cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Minister for Information Sheikh Rashid said that these licenses would be subject to code of conduct and an appropriate fee fixed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
The government has issued a list of 22 applicants to whom licences would be given, which covers the cross media cases. The decision has been taken as the channels were forced to base their headquarters in Dubai for uplinking as the government was delaying the process. Operating locally would largely reduce the cost of operations and would also bring these channels under the government control.
A press statement said, “The cabinet reviewed the progress, so far, on the issue of licences for the opening of TV channels. The cabinet decided that the TV licences should be liberally awarded subject to code of conduct on the basis of appropriate fees as determined by PEMRA, to encourage establishment of additional TV stations to generate jobs and economic activity”.
The Minster for Information has been repeatedly saying that cross media applicants should be given local licences. The applicants were of the view that the Indian channels are occupying the market and local channels would not be able to face the tough competition.
Major global channels are being operated from India and this has provided an edge to Indian media. To support its own media and to avoid propaganda from the Indian channels, the government has prohibited their transmission locally. But, in various cities Indian channels are available.
Source: Business Recorder