Illegal pay TV channels trade costs government Rs 1.4b
KARACHI- The growing business of illegal pay TV channels being broadcast by operators through smuggled and illegal decoders, has inflicted a loss or about Rs 1.4 billion to government in its revenues in the year 2002.
Viewers of pay or cable television channels in Pakistan stand around 400 million, but only 0.1 million of them are contributing to the government exchequer, industry sources said here on May 22, 2003. The remaining have been watching many of the cable channels broadcast illegally. The regulatory authority – the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has so far failed to check this illegal business.
The industry sources said that there were about 34,000 illegal decoders or cards in use to broadcast different channels. The ratio of the viewers, who have been watching the illegal pay TV channels stand about 94 per cent which if brought to legal net would help save government the huge evasion of taxes.
A pay channel broadcasters meeting held with Arabian Anti Piracy Association the middle-east based body of pay TV broad-casters, have learnt to have introduced a new system to check the rising piracy in this business. The body expected that by introduction of this new method, this illegal business could be checked, effectively. Under this numbers of illegal decoders and cards would be telecast frequently, also available at the Association’s website ww.pricepick.com. These decoders would be destroyed within 24 hours after telecast of their numbers, traced from different sources. This would check the use of illegal and smuggled decoders, they said.
The system was being introduced voluntarily in the countries where regulators were unable to check this illegal business, and would be controlled internationally. The system also includes incentives and prizes for the viewers on information of such decoders to the body.
Source: The Nation