Cable operators go on token strike till 30th -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cable operators go on token strike till 30th

LAHORE- The Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (CAP)August24,2003announced to go on a token strike till August 30 to pressure the government for resumption of international entertainment channels.

Speaking at a news conference here at a local hotel, CAP representatives from across the country, said they would go on a permanent strike after August 30 if the government did not allow them to relay international entertainment channels on cable television. CAP representatives who attended the conference included Khalid Sheikh from Sindh (Chairman), Malik Furqan Ghias from Punjab (President), Imran Nadeem from Rawalpindi/Islamabad (General Secretary), Mujahid Saleem from NWFP, Muhammad Arif from Balochistan and many others.

CAP President Malik Furqan Ghias said during the token strike they would stop showing all private channels including BBC, CNN, Sky News, Fox News, DW, etc. However, he said they would keep on showing Pakistan’s state channels as well as Video Cassette/VCD channels for the subscribers.

While categorically rejecting the assumption that the cable operators are only seeking permission for Indian channels, he said, they demanded the government to allow them to show international entertainment channels like Star Plus and others in this package as well as Video Cassette/VCD channels, adding that they opposed Indian channels like Zee network, Doordarshan etc, containing venomous propaganda against Pakistan. “We will not accept such Indian channels even if the government allows them to relay on cable television,” he maintained.

Differentiating between Indian and international channels, he said the source of international channels were outside India as in the case of Star Package. He said the government should also help minimize Wapda’s pole rates from Rs40 per pole per month to Rs5 per pole per month. Citing the reason, he said the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) authorities paid only Rs 2 per pole per month to the district governments in the country. He also urged the government to allow them to show advertisements on cable television. He further demanded the government to stop raids on the business of cable operators by Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority.

Chairman Punjab Cable Operators Association Mian Amir Masood said the strike call by Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (CAP) had failed.

Talking to Daily Jang he said issues could not be settled through strikes, but through dialogue. He said, “We want dialogue with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to reach a mutually acceptable solution. He said the CAP was playing in some special hands and the strike call was given for their vested interests which failed. He said 32 cable operators were working in Lahore and only five of them participated in the strike. Same is the case in Karachi, he added. He said not even a single cable operator participated in the strike in small cities.

APP adds: Meanwhile, Federal Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood has reiterated that the government will not allow cable operators to screen Indian channels. Talking to newsmen at a luncheon meeting at a local hotel on Sunday, the Secretary warned that the government would take strict action, including cancellation of licences, against the cable operators violating rules and regulations. “It will be unwise to link country’s survival with screening of Indian channels,” he remarked. However, he appreciated that certain cable operators had set a positive precedent by not relaying Indian channels and doing good business too. He informed that the government had decided to launch another satellite-based channel of Pakistan television i.e. ‘PTV Home’ shortly with a view to providing healthy entertainment to the families.

All Balochistan Cable TV Operators Association has ignored the strike call issued by Cable Operators Association of Pakistan. In a press release issued Sunday, the President of the Association Sohail Aziz and other office-bearers described the strike call as unjustified and against national interests. Meanwhile the sale of the dish antennas and receivers, which picked pace during the last few days, continued despite the fact that most markets remain closed on August24,2003
Source: The News