Ban on Indian channels to stay
ISLAMABAD- Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on August 24, 2003 refused to lift the ban on Indian TV channels despite the cable operators’ move to suspend relaying of all national and international all across the country.
According to a decision taken by the All-Pakistan Cable Operators Association (APCOA), cable operators suspended transmissions of popular television channels while some of them suspended their services altogether to protest against the government’s decision of keeping the ban on various channels intact.
Pemra officials said that the authority had accepted two of the three demands tabled by cable operators regarding determination of tariff for running cable TV channels and charges of Wapda for using its poles for cable service. The third demand, calling for the lifting of the ban on relaying of what they called “Urdu” TV channels operating from countries other than India was, however, not accepted.
“Pemra has no intention to lift the ban on these TV channels,” a Pemra official said. He said Indian TV channels had been banned prior to the formation of Pemra, therefore, the authority was not responsible for the ban.
The official clarified that the main reason behind the ban on Indian TV programmes was to promote local private channels and those new channels which would go on air in the current year. He said about 25 new private channels would begin beaming their programmes in the current year.
He said a tariff had been proposed by the Pemra but it would be imposed in consultation with the cable operators. He said the Pemra and the Wapda were working together to fix charges for using electricity poles by cable operators, supplementing their cable networks in specific areas.