Video channels banned on cable networks -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Video channels banned on cable networks

LAHORE- The government has finally banned the showing of video/CD Pakistani, Indian and English movies by cable operators throughout the country.

Thousands of small-time cable operators, who have set up their business across the country, regularly show new Pakistani, Indian and English movies on their cable channels in violation of the copyright laws. Their illegal operation destroyed the business of thousands of music centers and video rentals, which had been complaining against them for years, but no action was taken. Finally the government has imposed a ban on the showing of any video/CD films on any cable network.

This decision has been taken to protect the copyrights of the filmmakers and to stop the cable operators from showing films released on videotapes and CDs.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Director General Ch Muhammad Din has directed all the cable operators to operate 20 channels only including 4 decoder channels after paying the prescribed fees. The DG said: “All the channels must be free of any obscenity and vulgarity.” He also said that it was mandatory for the cable operators to show all the Pakistani channels as well as the Quran channel. He added that those who violated this rule would be penalized and their licenses might be cancelled.

A government spokesman said: “Due to this ban not only the film makers and video shops owners will be relieved, but their spoiled business will also be revived.

It is pertinent to note that there was tremendous public pressure on PTA against the unlicensed cable networks operating in different localities of the Lahore, which were spreading obscenity, Indian culture and violence through pirated videos/CDs. Besides, none of the cable operators showed the number of channels he promised to his subscribers at the time of selling a connection for Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 in advance and for a monthly fee from Rs 100 to Rs 1000.

It was learnt that many cable operators promised 60 to 65 TV channels, home security system through cable network and Internet connection to his customers, but never fulfilled his promise. In the initial euphoria thousands of subscribers were lured into the network trap who paid handsome advances to the operators for watching Indian and English TV channels. But after some time the operators backed out of their promises and showed those channels, which were available on ordinary dish antennas.

When approached for his comments on obscene material being shown on cables, a PTA official requesting anonymity, admitted that PTA could not determine what was objectionable, obscene or violent. He however, said violation of copyrights was common as licenses to cable operators were being issued without checking out their professional background.

As the cable operation is a highly profitable business, the operators have divided the areas among themselves to avoid territorial quarrels. But sometime, there are rows over territory.

Source: The News
Date:4/10/2001