cable operators start running banned Indian channels -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

cable operators start running banned Indian channels

KARACHI (December 25 2003): cable operators throughout Karachi, have started running banned Indian channels, despite a ban imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), PPI learnt here on Wednesday.

As per practice, cable operators allow TV subscribers to watch these banned Indian channels after 7 or 8 in the evening and continue violating the ban whole night till late in the morning everyday.

During day timings, instead of displaying Indian channels, viewers are allowed only to watch sports and other entertainment channels.

Several people from various localities of the city confirmed that they were facilitated by their respective cable operators to watch banned Indian channels including Zee News, Zee Cinema, Star Plus, Star Gold, B4U Music and B4U Movies.

Different opinions and views were presented by people regarding display of Indian entertainment channels by viewers while talking to this scribe and equal number of people opposed and favoured the banned clamped by Pemra on such channels.

According to some subscribers, Pemra has no business to decide about what channels the people of the country should watch while others said they were “delighted” that Indian culture was not “intruding” into their homes.

Those who opposed Pemra’s ban criticised authority for banning Urdu-language Indian channels, saying some of these Indian channels are immensely popular among locals especially women.

“Pemra has no moral justification for the ban on Indian channels. When we make monthly payments to cable operators, we should be allowed to watch whatever entertainment channels we want to see as authority has no right to tell us whether a channel is good for our morals or not,” a student said.

However, an elderly family defended the Pemra’s decision arguing that on one hand, our moral values were at stake due to these “obscene” channels while on the other, these channels were unleashing anti-Pakistan propaganda.

“In the garb of entertainment, Indian culture through their movies is promoted while anti-Pakistan propaganda is regular feature of these channels”, they said adding that life was as normal as prior to ban imposed on display of Indian channels.

Sheeba Ahmed, a female student said Pemra had not been consistent about the justification for the ban on Indian channels. “A couple of months back, the regulatory authority imposed a ban on Indian channels citing heightened tension between India and Pakistan.

It also drew our attention to the fact that Pakistani channels had been banned by the Indian government.

Ms Ahmed said the fact that the regulatory authority changed its stand so many times made the ban dubious. She added that Pemra seemed to be backing well-heeled media tycoons who operated TV channels in the country unmindful of the priorities of hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

A cable operator, who did not wish to be named, recalled that last year the government had also taken action against those cable operators who had been showing Indian channels and movies on their networks.

He added that the police under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance had arrested quite a few cable operators.

The cable operator complained that whenever the government initiated such a clampdown, police officials upped their bribe rates. “Previously we were paying the police a certain amount of money on a monthly basis.

Source: Business Recorder
Date:12/25/2003