Ban hits cable TV business: survey
PESHAWAR- The ban on the Indian channels has badly affected the business of cable television network operators, as most of their clients are no longer interested in watching the English and Pakistani channels, a survey reveals.
The government had banned the channels on Cable Television Network in December 2001, with a view to put brakes on the anti-Pakistan propaganda and to save people from watching the objectionable programmes.
Though, in response, New Delhi had also imposed a bar to the transmissions of PTV in India, after a couple of weeks it lifted the ban. While in Pakistan, the prohibition continues.
“Now people have no choice, except watching a few English entertainment and sports channels telecast without censor”, said a cable network subscriber, Mohammad Riaz of Sufaid Dheri.
He said the people wanted Urdu programmes including films and songs because they had got installed the cable network for entertainment not to watch the vulgar English movies.
There was no obscenity or anti-Pakistan propaganda in the Indian films and songs while the English movies had become a source of spreading vulgarity, he added.
Another subscriber, Mohammad Saeed, said the Pakistani channels had no match for the Indian ones because they telecast monotonous dramas, songs and other programmes. Most of the programmes aired by these channels were the old stuff, which PTV had already telecast many times, he added.
The ban was not serving the purpose as audio and videocassettes, and CDs of the Indian films and songs were being openly sold in the market.
A cable operator said that most of the Indian channels were based in Dubai, and there was no control of the Indian government over them. He alleged that some of the Pakistan-based channels had bribed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ban these channels.
He suggested that the government should have banned only those Indian channels, which telecast news and were involved in the anti-Pakistan propaganda.
“Many people are switching to digital receivers from the cable network because they could watch more entertaining programmes through that facility “, said a cable operator.
Since the launch of Cable Television Network in February 2001, each of the 20 cable operators in Peshawar pays Rs50,000 as licence fee to Pemra and additional Rs25,000 annually for per 1,000 connections.
They use electricity poles to distribute connections for which they have to pay Rs40 per pole to Wapda while the fee to install an amplifier on the poles is Rs300. Each operator pays Rs26,000 for a decoder of Star Package, Rs3,000 for HBO and Rs5,000 for multi-choice facility. In addition to this, they also pay Rs5,000-8,000 per month as power bills.